Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

Ivanhoe (1997)


Starring: Steven Waddington, Christopher Lee, Ciarán Hinds, Siân Phillips and Victoria Smurfit
Acorn Media
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 04 February 2008

Wilfred of Ivanhoe makes the mistake of falling in love with Lady Rowena and is cast out by his father and joins King Richard in the Crusades. When he returns to England he must weather a series of trials before he can win the fair hand of his lady love...

Ivanhoe (1997) was directed by Stuart Orme and adapted, from the original novel by Sir Walter Scott, by Deborah Cook. In adapting it for television Cook has produced, probably, the most accurate rendition of Scott’s story you’re likely to see. Although Ivanhoe has been a popular story for both the big and small screen, often the focus is on the action rather than the characters. This adaptation does not make this mistake and the six episodes allow us to get to know the characters in all their complexity. This is most important for the villains who come over as well rounded, multifaceted characters, rather than the usual two dimensional stereotypes.

If a superb adaptation wasn’t enough, the show boasts a great cast, including Christopher Lee, Ciarán Hinds, James Cosmo, Nick Brimble and Roger Ashton-Griffiths and that is only a taster as, for the most part, the whole cast really bring this story to life. Steven Waddington’s portrayal of Ivanhoe and Victoria Smurfit’s portrayal of Rowena help to hold the whole thing together in a very realistic way, although it’s a historical fiction their acting makes you actually care what happens to these two lovers.

For those who have not read the original story it may come as a surprise to find that Robin Hood and his Merry Men play a part in the tale. In fact, Scott’s original novel did a lot to define Robin as the jolly vagabond we know today.

The whole five hour series is spread across two discs, each one holding three episodes. Disc one has some extras in the form of filmographies and a behind the scenes picture gallery. Both discs are presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio with the option of subtitles.

Given the popularity of Robin Hood there should, potentially, be a large audience out there for this superb adaptation. It only really loses out being a perfect set because of the lack of extras.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£11.98 (
£11.99 (
£11.99 (
£13.97 (
£12.93 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.