Well, the first three episodes of this have certainly been eventful. The one who used to be in Holby City‘s been wrongly accused of witchcraft. Not to mention she and her friend being chased by a pack of wolves. The one who used to be in Waterloo Road ‘s getting well stuck in there with all the politicking … which largely involves all the blokes plotting against each other, and getting stressed about James I’s disapproval of tobacco plantations. Max Beesley’s character’s being killed by his own brother – except that he isn’t really dead, and is presumably about to show up again at the most inopportune moment. And the said brother’s been wrongly accused (there’s a lot of wrongful accusation going on) of stealing arms and selling them to the Native Americans. The only one who hasn’t really done anything is the Puritan maid, who seems to be channelling Baldrick. Most of her lines sound as if they were written for him.
It’s a bit daft, and some of the characters are rather too caricatured, but it’s entertaining. It’s also nice to have a series which shows that “America” did not begin with the Pilgrim Fathers. And indeed that Jamestown was not all about John Rolfe and Pocahontas. We started off with a group of mail order brides. There are all sorts of true stories about emigrant men sending home for brides, whether it was by advertising or by asking relatives and friends to find someone suitable and willing, and there are also true stories (this was more of a French thing!) about women just being packed off to help populate colonies. In this case, the Virginia Company recruited a number of women who wanted to emigrate to the “New World” – the deal being that they married whichever man agreed to pay for their journey.
It was filmed in Hungary, not Virginia, but never mind. And we’ve got the governor, the company recorder, the doctor, the drunken pub owner, the former indentured servants now trying to set up their own plantations … so they’ve tried to include company. Most of the characters have Lancashire or Yorkshire accents. Even the posh woman who claims to be from Banbury isn’t kidding us: we know that the actress who plays her comes from Manchester 😉 . The main characters are the posh woman (who harbours a dark secret) and two of the mail order brides (one feisty, one less feisty but determined to marry the bloke she fancies rather than whoever’s paid for her). They do a lot of talking about sisterhood and sticking together.
It’s probably not very much of a reflection of what life in early 17th century Jamestown was actually like; but it’s not bad. And it’s entertaining. It’s certainly not boring!