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Labyrinth

Labyrinth

Sat Mar 30, 9-11.05pm, C4

By Gabriel Tate
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Series one, episode one
Our prevailing fascination with grail mythology found a new outlet with Kate Mosse’s best-selling historical novel in 2005. ‘Labyrinth’ makes its way to our screens tonight courtesy of the production company behind the not dissimilar ‘Pillars of the Earth’ and ‘World Without End’.

It tells two interwoven tales. First, there’s Alice (Vanessa Kirby), a present-day ingénue who discovers a peculiar ring in a tomb on the outskirts of the French city of Carcassonne and, in so doing, attracts the attention of some deeply unsavoury types with their eye on her bauble. Then there’s Alais (Jessica Brown Findlay), one of the persecuted Cathars of the same city, facing the machinations of her evil sister (Katie McGrath) and the wrath of returning Crusader Simon de Montfort back in 1209.

Production values are high – the battle that closes tonight’s episode is bone-judderingly effective – and the atmosphere rich, but the pace is occasionally leaden and one or two of the performances are stinkier than a French peasant’s dungheap. But as escapist bank holiday entertainment, it does the job. Concludes tomorrow night at 9pm.
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