10 Things You Didn't Know About... The Musketeers
With the news that the third series of the BBC's drama The Musketeers is also to be its last, we must bid adieu to the famous characters first realised by French author Alexandre Dumas in 1844, with the third and final series arriving on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday (August 15th).
Created by Adrien Hodges, the show is one of approximately 200 adaptations based on Dumas' story including films, television series and even comic books, making it one of the most enduring stories in French literature.
To celebrate the arrival of the final series we went digging to unearth some of the lesser known facts about The Musketeers that might have escaped your attention. Enjoy...
Luke Pasqualino took the role of D'Artagnan partly because of a cartoon dog
Those of you who grew up in the 1980s will probably remember a French-Japanese cartoon featuring animated canine versions of Alexandre Dumas' famous musketeers, named Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. As it turns out, this was Luke Pasqualino's first introduction to the story of the Musketeers and, according to the actor himself, his fond memories of the cartoon ended up being one of the key reasons behind him taking the role.
Some scenes had to be cut when the BBC changed the show's time slot
Writers on the show were left a little frustrated when the BBC decided to change the broadcast time of the third series to 8:30pm instead of 9:00pm, putting it before the watershed. Because the series had already been filmed, this meant that some of the scenes had to be dropped, including a particularly gruesome scene in which Grimaud chops off the General's hand.
That's not actually Paris...
Although much of the show is set in the French capital, most of the filming was actually done in the Czech Republic because Paris has seen so much construction in amongst its historic building that it was too difficult to film some of the scenes without ruining the show's authenticity. Dublin was also considered, but in the end the producers settled on Doksany, near Prague, as the main location due to the fact that its oldest and grandest buildings were left relatively unscathed by the second world war.
You can blame Doctor Who for the mysterious disappearance of Cardinal Richelieu
Peter Capaldi played the nefarious Richelieu in the first series, but late during the filming process he discovered that he'd landed the role of the famous time-travelling hero and since it was too late to write the Cardinal out of the script, he simply isn't there in the second series.
There have been plenty of on-set injuries
All that swashbuckling doesn't come without hazards and several of the main actors have suffered injuries on-set. Peter Capaldi dislocated his thumb in what he described as an “overenthusiastic” take, Luke Pasqualino cut his feet to ribbons during a scene in which he was climbing a wall barefoot, Tom Burke fell down a flight of stairs and Santiago Cabera managed to smash his teeth while drawing his sword too quickly. You can't say these guys aren't suffering for their art...
There's a reason the showrunners chose a mixed-race actor to play Porthos
In almost all of the recent adaptations of Alexandre Dumas' novel, both in film and television, the character Porthos has been been depicted as a portly white man, but the producers behind the BBC series broke with that tradition in casting Howard Charles as a tribute to Dumas' own African heritage. Dumas' grandmother was born into slavery and his father, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, was a four-star general in the French army, becoming the highest-ranking officer of African descent in French military history.
The Musketeers were real
All of the main characters are based on real historical figures. D'Artagnan is based on Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Porthos on a man named Isaac de Portau, Aramis on Henry d'Aramitz and Athos on Armand de Sillegue, all of whom really did serve as musketeer guards under the reign of Louis XIV.
The man playing Father Duval is Tom Burke's dad
Fans of the show will know that Burke plays Athos in the series, but did you know that Burke's father also makes an appearance in the show? David Burke appeared in one of the episodes in series one, titled 'The Exiles', playing the role of Father Duval, but he's perhaps best-known as the man who played Dr. Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes during the mid-1980s, alongside Jeremy Brett.
Those costumes can get really heavy
All of the Musketeers have their own different and elaborate costumes, which are based on each musketeer's rank, but spare a thought for the ladies, who had it even tougher. In the third series (episode 10) Alexandra Dowling, who plays Queen Anne, wore a dress that weighed in at 20kg. It was so heavy it needed a special device attached to the corset to alleviate some of the weight.
This is the third time the story has been adapted for British television
The BBC has already screened two other versions of Alexandre Dumas' famous story. The first of these was in 1954 and starred Laurence Payne, Roger Delgado, Paul Whitsun-Jones and Paul Hansard. The second incarnation arrived on British screens in 1966 and starred Jeremy Brett as D'Artagnan, with Gary Watson and Jeremy Young playing Aramis and Athos respectively, while the role of Porthos was capably handled by Brian Blessed.