When William Tell was first shown on Saturdays at Prime Time viewing way back in 1989, who would have believed the amount of editing that went on! I for one was shocked when obvious scene cutting and editing went on, it almost made the show unbearable to watch. I think the Program Planners were aiming for a younger audience by cutting certain scenes from the original, which was a gross error on their part. After only five episodes the series was taken off, to be re-scheduled at a 'later' date. In fact the later date was to be in 1990 when the `Gods' of TV decided that, the time when children would be tucked away safely in bed, would be - '5.00am' funny most people would be.
With the 1994 release by Video Gems "The Legend of William Tell has been re-title and seemly left un-cut. The first video release of two deals with `The Banquet' and `The Prisoner' (VR 1710) and has been certified a PG. Although the video has two episodes they have been brought together to make one long episode, using 'Acts' as the link, i.e. Act 1, Act 2, etc. This makes the watching of the video so much better and easier. Because of the lack of editing the scenes flow together and the whole picture of the episode becomes much clearer and concise. Taking account of the episodes that were shown on TV the editing seems to concentrate on the shots with William Tell and his use and skill with the Crossbow. Unfortunately Video Gems only released two videos (four episodes) so if anyone knows where I may obtain the full series I would be grateful of your replies.
Crossbows in the past have developed a bad reputation. I suppose the
last time I remember anything been given this much attention, was back in
the Seventies when Bruce Lee was hurtling two wooden sticks, linked with a
chain, around his body. The ITV network have decided, that Crossbows
aren't healthy for our youngsters to watch, especially when a legendary
hero uses one with stealth and 'deathly, accuracy and so subsequently a
number of scenes were cut. I pity the editors who have this choice for
what would Robin Hood be without his bow or Arthur be without Excalibur
and Dr Who without his Sonic Screwdriver.
I am pleased with the first video from Video Gems, although the tape only lasted 44 mins and cost £ 10.99. I think even William Tell would have found this an injustice. The extra scenes with the crossbow are worth watching; on the whole I would recommend it to anyone. I for one will be buying the next video release, keep up the good work.
This page was created on 25th March 2000 and updated on 1st September 2006