Creator Martine Brant Talks New Worlds

In mini-series The Devil’s Whore, Martine Brant and Peter Flannery charted the bloody progress of the English Civil War, in the much anticipated sequel New Worlds they pick up that account 20 years after the end of the war with violent tensions brewing in both England and dangerous new territories of Massachusetts. Red Carpet News were treated to a very special screening of the first episode of the new series followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew. Here’s what creator Martine Brant had to say about the new series.

Q. What made you want to continue to capture this period of history?

The reason we were drawn to this period is because the restoration was thought of in popular imagination as Prince Charles as this merry monarch with all his mistresses who failed to produce an legitimate heir, which of course caused him all these problems by the time you get to 1680. But of course these are the children of parents who had fought during the civil war for a better world. A world without king’s and courts, a world more equal and just where the poor would not be oppressed and dispossessed. They had it for ten years they thought. Then it was all lost and the monarchy was restored. Of course in fact the republican experiment hadn’t worked.

From 1860 onwards everyone was pleased to welcome back Charles II. He promised to heal the wounds and no prosecution. But in order to keep control of the government the regime turned into one of the most repressive that this country has ever known. Not a lot of people know that. But there were still people there who wanted to realize the legacy of those brave men and women who had given their lives during the civil war. What we were trying to show is that the young can do this and they need to engage in their world. Politics which is about the way you live your life is indivisible from the way you love in your own life. You can’t separate it out, but it is within your power to shape your world if you engage with it. There are all kinds of resonances in modern times for that. It’s about young people making the world a better place for themselves and for others

Q. Are there any particular real life figures who inspired the series?

Colonel Sydney who features in the series was actually really an avowed republican and fought in the civil war before suffering a traitor’s death.  At his trial a manuscript from his study was presented as a second witness of his crimes. It had never been published but obviously he wrote it with the hope it would propagate these forbidden ideas eventually. The notion was that if a tyrant makes a bad law then you have every right to rise up and pull him down. He was condemned to death but he became an hero and his ideas carried over to Massachusetts. His phrase “Let this hand be an enemy to tyrants, by the sword seeks peace with liberty” is the inspiration for the motto for the state of Massachusetts although not many Bostonians know that.

Q. Do you think there are any particular parallels with the modern world, particular the Puritan community in Boston?

The English settlers, the puritans, who went to Massachusetts in the 1630’s and founded Boston, left England because they were separate. They wouldn’t conform to the established religion. They wanted a reformed church where there were much stronger strictures. It was very Taliban like in the way women had to behave. It was very prescriptive. It went on through until Nathanial Hawthorn was writing The Scarlet Letter. Women were very much the target much more so than the men.

Check out the rest of the Q&A to see what stars Jamie Dornan, Freya Mavo, Alice Englert and Joe Dempsie had to say about the exciting channel four mini-series.

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