The BBC commissioned this retelling of Homers Iliad, co-producing it with Netflix. TROY:FALL OF A CITY reportedly costed between £16 and £42 million to make.
David Farr, currently an associate director at the RSC, is responsible for penning this eight part mini-series. It was filmed on location in South Africa, a studio in Cape Town providing the interior sets.
The producers decided to use a cast of not so well known actors. David Threlfall plays King Prius, unrecognisable from his role as Frank Gallagher in Shameless. The Australian actor Louis Hunter plays Paris and German actress Bella Dayne plays runaway Queen Helen.
The opening scenes feature the birth of Alexander/Paris. A brief period of his life as a shepherd with his adoptive father Agelaos, Paris meets with the Gods and is asked to give a golden apple to the goddess he likes the best, each Goddess trying to win him over with a promise for the future. He meets with the Princes of Troy and gains an invite to the palace games, where he is nearly killed by his real brother Hector. King Prius recognises him and he is brought back into the royal fold. Paris is rapidly dispatched to see the King of Sparta, bearing gifts from Troy. He falls for Helen and she for him and the programme ends with a huge box being given as a parting gift from Helen, to Paris’s mother the queen of Troy.
If you're expecting historical accuracy you will have to look elsewhere, though the sets and costumes certainly do evoke a feeling of ancientness to the drama. The citizens of Troy looked quite scruffy and as though liberal handfuls of dirt had been rubbed on them, not what you would expect from a fabulously wealthy city.
The boat Paris sails to Sparta in looks as though it was borrowed from the Vikings. Paris calling himself a shepherd, then riding around on a horse herding cattle and checking the fences is more suited to a Western than the Trojan War.
Aside from these little points, the story moved along at a fast enough pace, though the story line was a little disjointed. The outdoor scenes were well filmed and the distant city scapes of Troy and Sparta looked quite convincing. The interior scenes were far to dingy, oil lamps and flaming torches may be authentic, but a little more light would have been an improvement.
There were no special effects to speak of, with all the comparisons to Game of Thrones, I was expecting a little more sword and sorcery.
The sex scenes were not really necessary and added nothing to the plot, and I didn’t realize the Trojans were fond of smoking opium.
The first episode was entertaining enough and set the scene for the troubles to come in future episodes. Troy: Fall of a City did enough to make me want to watch the next episode to find out what will happen.
- Aired on BBC One, February 17 2018 at 21:10.