We had been looking forward to planting the tree for Michael ever since last year, when we had joined Oliver Tobias in dedicating the Wellingtonia to him.

The account of that event is here.

On this November day, it started out grey, but turned into a lovely sunny day by the time we arrived, and the park was beautiful, still in its autumn colours.

Woodchester 18 November 2011
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Woodchester 18 November 2011
This is an account of the visit to Woodchester National Trust Park, where the early episodes of “Arthur of the Britons” were filmed in Summer 1972.

The event was organised by a fan of Oliver Tobias, Wendy Van Der Veen and this visit took place on Sunday 29 August. It was attended by Oliver Tobias, his brother Benedict Freitag, and a small group of fans of “Arthur of the Britons.”

We wanted to see where Arthur’s village had been sited, and to dedicate a tree to the late Michael Gothard, who starred as Kai in the series, alongside Oliver.
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Jack the Ripper was a two-part TV dramatisation of the investigation of the infamous murders of London prostitutes. According to Television Heaven, the original transmission of the opening episode was among the top ten ratings for that week, being watched by 14.1 million viewers.

Four different endings were originally filmed, to keep the conclusion of the investigation a secret, until the show was broadcast.

The two one-and-a half-hour episodes were shown on 11 and 18 October 1988.

Michael Gothard played George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. In the film, Lusk is portrayed as a political rabble-rouser and Marxist revolutionary, and is one of the suspects.

In real life, the activities of Lusk’s organisation mainly consisted of putting up posters and offering reward money.


In correspondence, the Director, David Wickes says:

"On Ripper, I wrote Michael’s character George Lusk as a 19th century Marxist. One of Lusk’s lines (to Michael Caine) was 'You can’t even protect ordinary working people'.

Most actors would have used a sneering tone and left it at that. Not Michael Gothard. He took me aside on the set and said he wanted to speak the line as if it were something his character had repeated hundreds of times — a mantra for meetings and speeches ... 'ord’ry workin’ peep-ul!'

Brilliant. In one second, we knew that Lusk was a professional activist, a man of slogans and sayings instead of original thoughts. 'Great,' I said, 'Do it'.

Now, that’s what I call an actor.

... Michael had a screen presence unlike that of any other actor with whom I have worked. He could frighten an audience with a glance. His soft, husky voice was electrifying and he knew how to use it to maximum effect.

Each time I welcomed Michael to the set, I knew that we were about to get something special in the can. There are very few actors in that category."

More details on Jack the Ripper from David Wickes Productions

Per Digital Fix: “Though they had originally started to film on video with a different cast (with Barry Foster in the lead), a vast sum of money was put up by CBS on the condition they made it into a much bigger production with US recognisable stars in it thus the inclusion of Michael Caine, Jane Seymour and Lewis Collins ...”

Per IMDB: “Michael Caine was persuaded to return to TV for the first time in nearly 20 years because of David Wickes's powerful script. Caine later described Wickes as "the nicest, fastest Director I've worked for, and the master of filming Victorian London."’

This was the second film in which Michael Gothard had worked opposite Michael Caine, the first being “The Last Valley” in 1971.

In 1979 he had worked with Lewis Collins on an episode of “The Professionals”: “Stopover.”

More recently, in 1982, he had worked with Lysette Anthony, who had played Rowena, his unwilling betrothed, in Ivanhoe.

The stunt arranger on ‘Jack the Ripper’, Peter Brayham would also have been well known to Michael, from “Stopover” and “Arthur of the Britons.”

Cast photo

Jack the Ripper cast

IMDB entry
In this epic science fantasy drama, Michael Gothard was eventually cast as European Space Agency Director, Dr. Bukovsky.

Bukovsky appears in the first half of the film, directing investigations into three transparent caskets containing naked aliens, found on the burned-out remains of the joint US/European Shuttle, Churchill.

In trying to rescue a security guard who is having the lifeforce sucked out of him by a newly-awakened female alien, Bukovsky is also attacked, by “the most overwhelmingly feminine presence” he has ever experienced.

He is later involved in the astronaut Carlsen’s debrief, but - having been drained of some of his lifeforce, and distressed by the loss of control - he never really recovers.

Having announced the arrival of the alien spaceship in earth orbit, he suggests that - like the vampires of legend - these space vampires are bringing their earth with them,
Bukovsky isn’t seen again.

He is later said to have died “like the rest”, though in the absence of evidence, it is tempting to think that he might have just gone for a quiet smoke and a lie down!

The film divides opinion, with reviews ranging from the “so bad it’s good” variety to “flawed genius”, with Jungian and Freudian readings, and suggestions that this was a parable about AIDS.

The film won the 1985 Caixa de Catalunya for Best Special Effects (John Dykstra), and was nominated for the 1986 Saturn Awards for Best Horror Film, and Best Special Effects.


Michael’s friend Sean McCormick tells of how, when he last saw Michael, “he had just lost the lead role in the Toby Hooper film 'Space Vampires' [released as 'Life Force' on June 21, 1985] to American actor Steve Railsback, and it crushed him. I think it was one of the straws on the camel's back that started his six or seven year darkness.”

Former girlfriend, N.B remembers, “I think there was talk about Michael getting another part in that film Lifeforce. I am pretty sure he talked about the crooked ways in which people (actors) got shuffled about and got made redundant or put to minor roles than was originally foreseen. He was angry, but didn't want to do anything about it. He hated going to places where you could socialise with directors and producers. He wasn't that kind of a person who wanted to ingratiate himself in order to get a job.”

Per an uncredited contributor to IMDB, Anthony Hopkins and Terence Stamp were the original choices to play Colonel Caine. Michael Gothard screen-tested for the role, but after meeting Peter Firth, director Tobe Hooper decided to give Firth the role, and gave Michael the role of Dr. Bukovsky instead.

A.S., the daughter of one of Michael’s close friends, confirms that both roles were supposed to have been on the cards for Michael.

"I don't remember if Michael talked to me about it, or to my father while I was around, but I remember that Michael was supposed to get the role of either the Commander of the mission [a role that went to Steve Railsback] or Colonel Caine [eventually played by Peter Firth], but was shuffled into the less important role of Dr Bukovsky.

He didn't blame the other actors at all, but ‘the business’: the producers, and the fact that actors had to play the political game - 'prostitute themselves', as he put it - to get on. He hated that actors had to go to parties, and stitch other actors up. Michael would NOT play the game. He felt actors should be cast on their merits, but that now they had become pawns, and talent didn't count for much.

I'm only surprised he didn't pull out, but perhaps his contract made that impossible, otherwise he would have no hesitation in telling a producer where to go. I’m sure the disappointment over that film helped push him further away from acting."


Michael had worked with Peter Firth before, on "Arthur of the Britons", where Firth guest-starred as Corin in "The Pupil."

Personal statement

In correspondence with Belsizepark, Mathilda May, who played the alien vampire girl, (and was supposedly embarrassed by the film), says of Michael Gothard: "I remember him as a lovely person; a gentleman ..."

Watch on Youtube

IMDB entry
N.B., a former girlfriend of Michael’s, was kind enough to talk to me, and answer some questions. Here is what she told me:

I was amazed at hearing about your project. I am sure Michael would have been even more surprised to find people still honouring his work as an actor some twenty years later. He wouldn't feel he was worth the trouble.

How/where did I meet Michael

I got to know Michael on a crisp spring Sunday morning in 1984 in the “brasserie Dome”1 in Hampstead. He sat there having his cappuccino and reading the Sunday paper. I was having breakfast with a friend of mine. I was living in London as an au-pair, and so was my friend; we cherished our fee day away from the family where we lived and worked.

My friend knew Michael, because he had taken her out for dinner some weeks previously and she said hello to him across the tables. She pointed out who he was and I immediately recognised him thanks to his glasses. They were the ones he wore in the Bond film “For Your Eyes Only.”
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This is the photo used in Michael's 1976 - 77 Spotlight entry.

The photo is a publicity shot for “Arthur of the Britons.” .

1976 - 77

He was registered with a new agency, Plant & Froggatt Ltd.
This page appeared in "Look-in" for the week ending 8 December 1973.

This came out just after the last episode of "Arthur of the Britons" had aired, on 28 November 1973.

Look-in 8 December 1973
The last episode of "Arthur of the Britons" was first broadcast 28 November 1973.

Kai best regards

Former girlfriend N.B. said, 'I remember that he talked about the fans he used to have after the TV series of "Arthur of the Britons" and that his picture was very sought after for a certain period of time.'
You may recognise him as a screen and television star. But Jerry Bauer talks to the real Michael Gothard.

The Three Musketeers, the film Michael Gothard is making, is set in Estudios Roma, the film centre outside Madrid. The temperature is close to a hundred, although one tried not to think about it.

“The Three Musketeers and I seem to have an affinity for each other. In this film version I portray Felton, the lover of Madame de Winter – Faye Dunaway but on television, I was Madame de Winter’s son in yet another dramatisation. Presumably, I was chosen by Richard Lester for this role because he’d seen me as the inquisitioner in The Devils. Both characters are repressed, violent and mad.”
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MICHAEL GOTHARD was among the first of the "underground" heroes to emerge into the mainstream of the acting profession.

In Arthur of the Britons (Wednesday) he plays the Saxon, Kai, brought up in the Celtic community. Generally, he is associated with more sinister, misfit roles, for example his part as a killer in Scream and Scream Again, and the psychopathic priest-inquisitor in another film, Ken Russell's The Devils.

Gothard, single and in his early 30's, has a broad, massively square face and a deep, hard voice which seems un-English, though he comes from North London. Contrasting with his appearance are his small, rectangular metal-rimmed glasses, perched low on his nose in the style of the docile shoemaker in Pinocchio cartoons.
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On 11 January 1973, a letter from R.J. Simmons, Press Officer for HTV West, was published in The Stage.

Simmons was responding to a complaint that episode 3 of “Arthur of the Britons”, "The Challenge", broadcast on 20 December 1972, was difficult to understand. Simmons explained that this was because a Post Office fault caused the loss of sound during the first 8 minutes, resulting in the loss of much vital dialogue.

According to the letter, several companies showed that episode again later.

Simmons also reveals that the first and second episodes, “Arthur is Dead” and “A Gift of Life”, achieved no. 4 place in HTV’s top ten programmes.
Television Heaven

This excellent children's television series was a muddy and realistic version of the King Arthur legend which depicted Arthur (Oliver Tobias) as a struggling 6th century warlord, battling to unite the fragmented Celtic tribes into a cohesive fighting unit that could effectively oppose the Saxon invaders who were arriving in Britain in growing numbers.

This was King Arthur as he might have been ... Assisted and guided by Llud, The Silver Hand, his adoptive father and Kai, his foster brother, who is himself a Saxon foundling, 'Arthur of The Britons' stripped away the elaborate medieval view of Camelot and provided the viewer with a thoughtful and fascinating insight into the Arthurian legend.

Full review.

Cult TV

Arthur is the war chieftain of a tribe of Celts who has his eye on the bigger picture - unification of the tribes in the face of the Saxon threat. Assisted by his adoptive father, Llud, and Saxon friend, Kai, he has his hands full keeping the peace with opposition from the various feuding factions as well as his duplicitous cousin, Mark of Cornwall.

Starring Oliver Tobias ... as Arthur, leader of the Britons, this 1972-1973 swashbuckling adventure series from HTV also stars Jack Watson and Michael Gothard as his compatriots Llud and Kai, Brian Blessed (I, Claudius) as Mark of Cornwall and an impressive guest cast ...

Full review.

Grant on The Angriest

Even 38 years later it feels like a completely fresh take on the Arthurian legend, creating the sort of “the real Arthur” mystique that the 2005 Jerry Bruckheimer film could only dream of …

The series starred Oliver Tobias as Arthur, alongside Jack Watson as his adoptive father Llud and Michael Gothard as his right-hand man Kai. As far as I can find out Arthur was Tobias’ biggest role, although he did appear in a number of films and TV dramas ... Jack Watson was a mainstay of British film and television … Meanwhile Michael Gothard is probably best known for playing Emile Leopold Locque in For Your Eyes Only (1981), as well as appearances in The Devils (1971) and The Three Musketeers (1973) ...

The first episode of Arthur of the Britons … begins with Arthur and Kai racing each other on horseback. It’s a surprising scene, primarily because it lacks a musical score. This gives the episode an unexpectedly contemporary feel, which is something that keeps returning sporadically through the episode …

The climax of the episode is, for a 1970s children’s drama, unexpectedly violent, as the combined Celtic forces fend off a small Saxon invasion. The episode even manages to include some unexpected plot twists and turns.

Full review.

Michael Gothard as Kai, wielding his distinctive axe.

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Photos by ITV/Rex Features
At a fan meeting in August 2010, Oliver Tobias spoke about the filming of “Arthur of the Britons.”

“Out of the blue, a memory which I had closed away … it’s quite emotional …”

When asked about the casting, he said that his and Michael Gothard’s audition consisted of them, and 4 horses – they had to ride various horses to the top of the hill and back together a number of times. Obviously the chemistry between them was an important factor, as well as horsemanship.

“They cast us for who we were at the time. We were allowed complete freedom as … how we were.”

He said that they improvised a lot of the action, and they weren’t given any direction on how to deliver any of their lines.

He remembered filming as having taken a year, though in reality it must have been closer to eight months. “We [Oliver Tobias, Michael Gothard and Jack Watson] more or less lived on set.”

During ‘The Challenge’, the third-filmed episode, in which Arthur (Oliver Tobias) and Kai (Michael Gothard) spend at least half of the episode fighting each other, they worked with Bristol’s champion javelin thrower on the spear-throwing scene.

Oliver thought he was young and athletic enough to jump out of the way in time, but he didn’t make it. The spear glanced off the inside of his shield instead of the outside, and hit him on the back of the head. “When it hit me it was like a ship running aground.”

He remembers looking around, and seeing Michael. Later he said Michael held his head in his lap. “Christ I’m lucky to be here – I nearly died during filming …”

He is said to have thought of Michael like a brother. He and Michael used to play tricks on each other, and to try and pile up mounds of earth to stand on, so they would be taller than the other. Oliver said that the stories were so harsh, they needed an outlet. The series was “like a war zone.”

However, he also said that of all his roles, he identifies most with Arthur.

When dedicating a tree to Michael Gothard, Oliver said: “He was a sensitive man – perhaps too sensitive,” and spoke of remembering Michael holding his head on his lap when the spear had hit him, and he nearly died. He also mentioned Jack Watson. He said he felt privileged to be the one left alive. Then, clearly affected, he drove the commemorative stake into the ground with considerable force.

Oliver’s brother, Benedict, who had once met Michael, (before ‘Arthur of the Britons’) and performed a Cheyenne ceremony at the site, said that Michael didn’t have the filters you need, to stop yourself feeling all the suffering going on in the world – “otherwise you give yourself the bullet.”

Though Oliver had gradually lost touch with Michael Gothard after filming the series, it seems likely that Michael’s death was the reason he had closed away the memory of ‘Arthur of the Britons.’
Getting a job on ‘Arthur of the Britons’

By a series of total coincidences, (mainly running low on money in Bristol, England) I heard Harlech TV was having open casting sessions for the extras for the townspeople [for “Arthur of the Britons.”]

I got it, and worked 6 days a week until the end of the series. For me it was a paid graduate school, with plenty of time to watch the different methods of the rotating directors, and some very good character actors to bolster roster.

Gerry is the extra standing in the middle of the picture, immediately below Oliver Tobias (Arthur).
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Atmosphere on set

It seemed like there was much pressure to hit the short deadlines for a quick turn-around. The filming was extremely well organized and all the crew and actors created a friendly but always moving forward atmosphere.

… I remember hearing that was sometimes a B crew shooting cutaways and other footage at different locations to help keep things moving. It seemed to me that they were trying to keep to filming one a week and having a B Unit get any extra coverage needed to keep the pace up ...
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The cast

It was openly acknowledged that Michael Gothard added quality to the series and he was hired to bring up professional acting level. The word was that the producers were worried a bit that the young star, Oliver Tobias, was too new, and not that experienced, although … Tobias did a really good job as it turned out.

On set Oliver was always the most quiet of the three main characters. As the lead, he had the biggest responsibility and he was the youngest. While waiting, he seemed to keep it very serious. He was always very courteous to everyone. It was my impression that the three lead actors liked each other very much.
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From the parts that I observed it was always Oliver and Michael doing everything without stuntmen. When there was a group of riders I believe some of those others were stuntmen. Oliver and Michael were always doing their own riding from the parts I could observe. They both were very good at it.

I don't recall any stunt people standing in for either of them. For that matter, extras would get an extra £2 for the day if they were involved in something like that. I remember once Blessed had to rampage through the village knocking people out of his way, the director picked me to be thrown by him over his shoulder, and that take was done at least five or six times.

Getting to know Michael

Having already worked in TV in NY before I left, I already knew to never bother the actors; they need their space to think about their lines, get into the character, etc. Always wait until spoken to and stay on business unless someone else brings up another topic.

But somehow, Michael Gothard began talking with me, and found out I had just been travelling about Europe, much as he did some years earlier. During that period, we hit the pubs a few times.”
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On Michael and his girlfriend

In “Some Saxon Women” I am in quite a few shots, but more interestingly there are good shots of the young woman that Michael was seeing ... at the scene starting at 7:00 where the two men look over the Saxon women that are chained up.

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On Michael

It was a time of discovery for people willing to travel to really delve into a culture and take risks. I think "La Vallee" expresses that for Michael, and he liked that film very much.

As an example of this, Michael was different than, let’s say, Oliver Tobias or Brian Blessed. One small example would be that the latter two would never talk with extras …
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In conclusion

When I put the first DVD episode on I was very happy to see that it really was a great show. It was also sad to think that Michael Gothard left this life far too soon …

It is amazing how popular and long lasting ‘Arthur of the Britons’ has been. Many of the Brits and Aussies that I have known here in the US remember the show very fondly and vividly. It is an incredible testament to the actors, writers, producers, etc.

* with regard to Brian Blessed:

I (Joya) met Brian Blessed on 23/10/2011, talked to him about 'Arthur of the Britons', and showed him some pictures of us dedicating a tree to Michael.

Brian hadn't been aware that Michael had died: hardly surprising he missed the news, given how little coverage it got at the time. I told Brian that Michael had killed himself in 1992. He became serious, and said that he was sorry, and that Michael had been depressed when he knew him, and that Michael had confided in him over some of his problems.

It seems possible that, as someone who already knew Michael, and seems to have considered him a friend, Brian's disapproval of the extras getting a ride in the stars’ car was due to the suspicion that these extras were just taking advantage of Michael.

When I suggested this to Gerry, he agreed that it was possible.


The 24 episodes were broadcast at 4:45 pm on Wednesdays, the first episode being broadcast in the UK on 6 December 1972.

The series was a joint venture with a German company, included some German actors as recurring cast in Season Two, and some of the scenes were filmed in German as well as English.

It was shown in Germany, and all over Europe (including Eastern Europe), in the USA, South America, and Australia, where it was of-cten given repeat showings, though it was seldom repeated in the UK.

Foreign TV networks variously dubbed or subtitled the show as they saw fit.

In 1975, scenes from various episodes were put together to make a film, “Arthur the Young Warlord”, though this was a shadow of the series, and left out most of Michael Gothard’s scenes, as well as the distinctive theme tune by Elmer Bernstein.

The series finally came out on DVD in 2009.

Michael’s former girlfriend N.B., who first met him in 1984, says:

'He didn’t like watching himself. I never got him to show me any movie he had worked in. From what he told me, I think he liked the film “Up the Junction” and “Arthur of the Britons.” And the French one, “La vallée.”'

Cast and crew with whom Michael Gothard worked on other projects.

Peter Stephens, who appeared in the episode ‘In Common Cause’ as Brother Amlodd, just before his death at 52, on 17 September 1972, had earlier starred with Michael Gothard in ‘Herostratus.’ Stephens played the part of the advertising man, Farson.

Brian Blessed: Porthos in in ‘The Further Adventures of the Musketeers’, and Korski in ‘The Last Valley’, and Mark of Cornwall in ‘Arthur of the Britons.’

Mike Pratt: Jeff Randall in ‘When the Spirit Moves You’, and Mordant in ‘People of the Plough’ (‘Arthur of the Britons’ episode.)

Alfie Bass: Charlie in ‘Up the Junction’ and Trader in ‘The Swordsman’ (‘Arthur of the Britons’ episode.)

Peter Firth: Colonel Caine in ‘Lifeforce’ and Corin in ‘The Pupil’ (‘Arthur of the Britons’ episode.)

Patti Love: Tasca in ‘Warrior Queen’, Gladwyn in ‘Rolf the Preacher’ (‘Arthur of the Britons’ episode.)

Peter Brayham: stuntman in ‘The Devils’, stunt arranger for ‘Stopover’ (‘The Professionals’ episode) and ‘Jack the Ripper’, and second unit director and stunt co-ordinator on ‘Frankenstein,’ fight arranger for ‘Arthur of the Britons.’

Watch on Youtube:

Season 1

Episode 1: Arthur is Dead
Episode 2: The Gift of Life
Episode 3: The Challenge
Episode 4: The Penitent Invader
Episode 5: People of the Plough
Episode 6: The Duel
Episode 7: The Pupil
Episode 8: Rolf the Preacher
Episode 9: Enemies and Lovers
Episode 10: The Slaves
Episode 11: The Wood People
Episode 12: The Prize

Season 2
Episode 1: The Swordsman
Episode 2 :Rowena
Episode 3: The Prisoner
Episode 4: Some Saxon Women
Episode 5: Go Warily
Episode 6: The Marriage Feast
Episode 7: In Common Cause
Episode 8: Six Measures of Silver
Episode 9: Daughter of the King
Episode 10: The Games
Episode 11: The Treaty
Episode 12: The Girl from Rome

IMDB entry

Stills from the series can be seen here, and even more here.

In the poster shown below, Michael Gothard's Kai has been depicted looking very much like Hansen in "The Last Valley", not clean-shaven as he actually appeared in "Arthur of the Britons." The artwork must have been from quite an early stage in the production, before Kai's appearance had been decided upon.

HTV publicity 1 small

The poster below shows scenes from some of the earliest episodes filmed: "Arthur is Dead", "Daughter of the King", "The Challenge", "The Gift of Life", and "The Penitent Invader."

HTV publicity 3 small
Michael was very enthusiastic about being cast, and my parents were very proud of him. I didn't see it as a big deal until I visited the set with my father, in 1972, when I was 15.

The first time I saw ‘Arthur of the Britons’ was on set; it was a real eye opener. When we arrived, and met up with Michael, he was in costume, and about to start filming. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, Michael does look really cool.’ I had known him since I was ten, and he was the big brother I'd never had. Up until the set visit, it hadn't dawned on me that Michael was an actor, because I had not seen him in anything before ‘Arthur of the Britons.’

I remember being impressed and star-struck with everything. It all seemed so REAL, and it was literally dawn to dusk, and just so quick. You would never get actors to work at that pace today! Michael said there were lots of times when they were running out of time, and the director would say: ‘We have to do this in one take, let's get it right!’ and they did!

We saw some fight scenes rehearsed, and I clearly remember they were very well put together. All the actors could ride, and do their own fight scenes, which is why it looked so good. By today's standards, it was virtually live; no stunt doubles, a quick rehearsal then film. Michael’s axe was incredibly heavy. He was extremely fit; they all were.

Health and Safety? Michael has a scene where he is supposed to cauterise a wound, in ‘The Wood People’: real sword in real fire, only substituted at the last minute! Child actors running round close to the fire! I don't remember any rehearsal for that either. I honestly think they read the script, and did it!

The atmosphere did seem friendly and happy: organised chaos. Some bits are hazy, but it's the pace and how hard they worked that I remembered. On our second day, one minute Michael was in jeans and T shirt, the next, in costume and ready to go. I'm sure there was some sort of make up, but I don't recall that.

We saw parts of two episodes being filmed. One was ‘The Wood People’ and the other was ‘The Pupil’, but they were not filming it in proper order. We spent two days there, and they were finishing ‘The Pupil’ with Peter Firth, then leaping on to ‘The Wood People’, then going back to ‘The Pupil.’

I found Oliver Tobias a bit intimidating, but he was really nice and very friendly when I went to meet him. Michael and Oliver did seem very good friends, and I know they socialised while filming ‘Arthur of the Britons.’

Michael got on really well with Jack Watson too. Father and I really liked him, but we only met him that time on the ‘Arthur of the Britons’ set. We had dinner together Michael, my father, Jack Watson and me. I think a fair amount of alcohol was drunk after I went to bed!


Arthur of the Britons does reveal a fair amount of the "real" Michael.

In ‘The Pupil’, that lovely, lovely smile and laugh right at the beginning was typical Michael. You just had to smile with him when he smiled. It lit up a room.

In ‘Daughter of the King’, the bit where he sort of nudges Arthur? That was a typical Michael thing. If he wanted something he would come and sit next to you and give that little nudge. If there was no response, he would give a bigger nudge, and so on and so on, until you caved in!

The slow blink was ALL Michael. He did that a lot if he was emotional.

In ‘The Wood People’, when he slowly turns his head and looks at Arthur when he teases him by the fire about the ‘witches.’ He would do EXACTLY that if I was a bit cheeky or he suspected a crime.

Michael had a way of saying ‘ahh!’ in a certain was if he was exasperated! He did just that towards the end of ‘The Wood People.’ He used that ‘ahh!’ at home quite a bit! He used it when Alfie the miniature dachshund would get on his bed, and growl if anyone tried to get him off. He used it with me on many occasions!

In ‘The Duel’, just after the ant race, they are about to fight, and Michael sort of grins, half sticks his tongue out. That was not acting. If he was messing about, winding Alf up, or making a grab for me, he would have that playful, wicked expression on his face.

There is a bit in ‘Enemies and Lovers’ where Kai runs up to a girl, arms outstretched to hug her. He did that ALL the time: long arms outstretched.

Near the beginning of ‘The Marriage Feast’, Michael is sitting with Jack Watson and teasing Arthur. He says ‘Ooooooo!’ That was Michael too: as characteristic as the ‘ahh!’ He would use ‘Ooooooo’ if he was teasing.

At the end of "Go Warily", when Arthur and Kai are winding Llud up, you see Kai laughing at the trick he has played; that was exactly the way he was if he was laughing so hard he couldn't stop.

The more I see of ‘Arthur of the Britons’, the more I see that there is SO much of Michael in Kai.

I never heard Michael say anything negative about ‘Arthur of the Britons.’ We all got the opinion he really enjoyed making it, and he definitely enjoyed working with Oliver Tobias and Jack Watson. He was very proud of taking us to visit.

I remember my parents saying he was going to end up being really famous! We never really understood why he didn't.

Neither did he, really.


In 1973 I went to a girls’ boarding school for my A-levels. I was very academic, but rubbish at school sports, so was definitely not ‘cool’ at school.

Michael decided to sort that out; he came and took me out for lunch one Sunday. I remember a couple of the snobby girls asking if I was going out. I told them my adopted big brother was collecting me. One of them said something like: ‘You don't have a brother.’ I told her it was Michael Gothard, and she didn't believe me. Her face when he arrived … that will stick in my mind forever!

‘Arthur of the Britons’ was a big success by then, and he made sure his visit was very visible, and most of the girls in my year gasped and stared. I can see him now getting out of the car, a yellow Triumph Stag, and making a big fuss of me.

I was so proud of my big brother!

I had one good friend at school; she had a massive crush on Michael. She came out to lunch with us and was very tongue-tied, and kept blushing when he spoke to her. Michael was lovely with her. He signed some stuff for her, and gave me ‘The Glare’ a couple of times when I got the giggles.

I was always a bit perplexed as to why so many girls swooned over him! I'd only every seen him as "big brother." Didn't they know how strict he was? Didn't they know that not doing prep, answering back, having boyfriends, going out, wearing the wrong clothes, (the list goes on) got all sorts of sanctions? But when I think of how much fun he was, I would not have changed him for the World. He was a massive influence on me as I was growing up.


Contributed by A.S.
The second episode to be filmed, most of which is thought to have been shot in June or July, sees the friendship between Arthur (Oliver Tobias) and Kai (Michael Gothard) face a stern test. But first, this scene (shot later in the year) shows a cosy winter's day in the longhouse, where they are trapped by the weather.

Longhouse scene (6) Longhouse scene (19)

Arthur and Kai have been to the store-hut to collect some provisions. Llud (Jack Watson) greets them.
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Friends (51) Friends (54b)

They decide to drink the next two horns ...

Friends (55c) Friends (59)

... and the next, "until the barrel's dry."  No woman is going to come between them.


michael_gothard: (Default)

October 2013

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