DVD: The Pillars of the Earth (15)

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The Independent Culture

This authentic- looking adaptation of Ken Follett's mightily ripe, bestselling historical novel, set during 12th-century England's time of "Anarchy", is hugely enjoyable.

The plot centres on Rufus Sewell's mason, Tom, and his quest to erect a glorious cathedral for Matthew Macfadyen's idealistic prior, Philip. However, both men have to contend with Ian McShane's dastardly (he poisons kings, bishops, anyone) Bishop Waleran Bigod and the battling progeny of King Henry. McShane – as in Sexy Beast and Deadwood – is deliciously wicked in this gamey tale of religious strife, sexual capers and regal power struggles.

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