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King Arthur's Disasters
Format Children's Animated Comedy
Starring Rik Mayall
Matt Lucas
Morwenna Banks
Phil Cornwell
Country of origin UK
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Running time 30 mins approx.
Original channel CITV on ITV (premier episodes)
Nicktoons (rpts of series 1)
Original airing Spring 2005
External links
King Arthur's Disasters Official website

King Arthur's Disasters is an animated series that airs on CITV on ITV in the United Kingdom, Cartoon Network in Latin America, France and Portugal, ABC Australia and Toon Disney in both Italy and Spain. As of 2006, Nicktoons UK began airing repeats of series 1. Co - Created by Paul Parkes and Will Ashurst, the series depicts the (often anachronistic) attempts by King Arthur, assisted by the wizard Merlin, to woo the beautiful but self-obsessed Princess Guinevere. Due to the popularity of the show, it was picked up for a second series which began/ transmission on CITV on ITV in the UK on the 6th November 2006.

The episodes all start with Princess Guinevere requesting (though not always directly) some object or animal or being which she apparently desperately wants or truly has need of. Arthur, in return for her agreed hand in marriage (though always to no avail) will set off on a quest usually with Merlin and sometimes accompanied by others, knights of his round table, to gain the item required. He will be beset by numerous dangers before finally reaching his goal, but something will always ruin it or its effects and Guinevere will never be pleased, or if she is, soon after she will be displeased. The main antagonists to the king are his two rebellious knights, Sir Launcelot and Sir Martyn, who constantly quarrel between each other but share the king as a common enemy.

King Arthur's Disasters was the highest rated new CITV show during Spring 2005. It regularly achieved an audience share of over 20% of kids and it regularly won its time slot against CBBC.

In 2006 the show was nominated for a children's BAFTA for Best Animation, but lost to The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers.[1]


The show uses a stock series of characters drawn from the popular reception of the Arthurian Legend, and whose most notable features demonstrate the influences of 20th century, rather than medieval, incarnations of the knights. The main recurring characters are:

  • Arthur, the eponymous king whose disasters provide the main plot motivation.
  • Guinevere, the archetypal bored princess whom her creators describe as "the Paris Hilton of her generation" (see King Arthur's Disasters home page). While having no intentions of actually marrying Arthur she uses her hold over him to will him into finding her the things she desires; water from the fountain of youth, a winter palace, a golden bear. Guinever is so self-absorbed sometimes she doesn't even notice Arthur's absence.
  • Merlin, Arthur's only faithful servant, whose bumbling manner might hide a devious, brilliant mind... or might not.
  • Lancelot, Arthur's first knight, who resembles nothing so much as a fusion of James Bond and Terry-Thomas. Nursing a grudge since a childhood dispute, Lancelot seeks any occasion to rid himself of Arthur and usurp the vacant throne; a trope which leads him to heartily encourage Arthur's more perilous quests, and recalls Steve Barron's Merlin (film) TV series, transferring the adultery theme to a more 'child-friendly' comic equivalent.
  • Robin Hood, a cheery denizen of the forest who (along with his not so merrie men) serves as antagonist to Arthur since an encounter with the Singing Oak Tree and the ruse of a cunning pig... While technically speaking an anachronism (depending on which Arthurian source you prefer), the inclusion of Robin Hood is not without precedent in Arthurian films, since Nathan Juran's Siege of the Saxons included a Robin-esque character, and the backdating of Robin places him within broadly the same time period as Chr├ętien de Troyes was writing his Arthurian legends (late 12th Century).
  • Sir Martin, a deliberately anachronistic (or perhaps anatopistic) insertion into the legend, perhaps an homage to Akira Kurosawa whose Seven Samurai present a similarity with occidental medieval knights.
  • Splag, Arthur's only loyal knight, who is a stocky brute capable of only monosyllabic grunts.


External links



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