ATLANTIS RISES (AGAIN); Greek Mythology, Time Travel and Spectacular Action Combine in a New BBC Drama from the Team Behind Merlin That Brings the Lost City Back to Our Screens
Byline: Nicole Lampert
Ever since Plato first told the story of the wealthy city that sank into the sea without a trace, humanity has been fascinated by Atlantis. There have been movies including Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire; TV series - The Man From Atlantis, Stargate: Atlantis and most recently 2011's BBC docu-drama Atlantis: End Of A World, Birth Of A Legend - and numerous books. But tonight, a glossy new drama about the lost city explodes on to BBC1 that, as it's by the team behind Merlin, promises to be rather different.
The story starts with mysterious stranger Jason, played by handsome newcomer Jack Donnelly, who washes up on the Atlantis shoreline. He's come from another world - our world - in search of his father. But when he lands in Atlantis we learn his appearance there is no accident. He soon befriends the brainy Pythagoras (War Horse's Robert Emms), who has a strange fascination with triangles, and Hercules (The Full Monty's Mark Addy), who's famous for telling tall stories about his brave deeds. Then there's Hercules' slave girlfriend Medusa (this is before the curse that left her with snakes for hair) and the beautiful princess Ariadne. Each week the friends find themselves thrown into adventure - a sort of Ancient Greek A-Team - while the enigmatic Oracle (Juliet Stevenson) tells them it's all part of their mysterious fate.
Fitting firmly into the Doctor Who and Merlin mould - there are battles with strange monsters and the scary Furies, the goddesses of vengeance, bull-leaping and sword fights - it's aimed at all ages but will be a little bit scary. 'Just enough to get children behind the sofa, but not to traumatise them,' says producer Julian Murphy. His co-producer Johnny Capps admits, 'We're playing fast and loose with Greek myths, legends and tragedies as well as real characters - they all blend together.'
Historically, of the main trio Jason and Hercules are probably only myths, while Pythagoras did exist but several centuries later. Johnny says Greek scholars will 'probably hate it', but for everyone else - and who doesn't love a Greek myth or two, especially when you throw in a bit of time travel and a generous helping of action? - this should provide the very definition of 'family entertainment'. …