A roleplaying game of Elizabethan spies and 1970s television, being a delightful comedy and tragedie of events that occurred in 1585 and 1975
From the introduction:
In 1975 auteur director Luis Zorge, in tax exile from France, agreed with London Weekend Television to produce a late evening action series. Running for 8 episodes, The Queen’s Men threw historical accuracy to the wind, mixing action, adventure, espionage and horror into something quite unique.
The show followed the adventures, in a technicolour 1585, of The Queen’s Men: a diverse group assembled by Francis Walsingham to secretly defend England from the forces of evil, be they papists, creatures of the night or other unsavoury influences. Filmed expensively at Pinewood studios, the mix of sumptuous period costumes, special effects and some classical actors given the chance to chew the scenery became a sleeper hit.
Sadly, the series was cancelled due to a very public argument, between Zorge and The National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, over some of the shows more risque content and occult themes.
Starring John Gilroyd as Christopher Marlowe and Edward Lee as John Dee, the show only managed one series before events overtook it. The annual that follows was written before the producers realised that the show had been cancelled and contains a wealth of background material on how this forgotten gem came to be. It is presented here in its entirety, with extra notes for historical context provided by Jeremey Befford, chair of the Queen’s Men Appreciation Society.