Watch: BBC sinks its sword into its most ambitious project yet

Written by Staff Writer at CNN London

Earlier this month, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a pirate-themed prequel to his classic adventure, came out in theaters.

As reported by Variety , casting such established actors as Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, it sets the stage for two very different stories.

In British television, the venture has come into question.

Two years ago, an ambitious eight-part narrative, dubbed “The Prince of Wales,” was commissioned by the BBC and BBC America, aiming to match the “Downton Abbey” success of the U.K. broadcaster.

Working on “The Prince of Wales” and “Legend of the Sword” at the same time wasn’t possible, however. Now, thanks to Netflix, both productions are listed as “on the shelf.”

Chris Ryan co-created the original pilot for “The Prince of Wales” in 2016, and spent two years shopping it around before a deal with Netflix was reached.

The series was envisaged as a “multidimensional and three-dimensional” prequel, said BBC Worldwide business development director Jessica Losada, and there was a chance it would be adapted for other networks.

In a statement, Losada pointed out that, if Netflix pulls the plug, “it would not affect any future development of the project.”

Cast of “The Prince of Wales” Credit: BBC/Hangar Productions

But there are clearly doubts about both series, and their directors, on the part of the actors.

Charlie Hunnam, who starred in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” wrote on Instagram last month, “Seeing #ThePrinceOfCharles and #KingArthur back to back is depressing, stunning, heartbreaking and kinda shocking.

“That dude really did turn (Arthur) into a child… woulda been good to get more of the Morgana (story),” he added.

Arthur’s crown on show at “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” Credit: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images North America/Getty Images

Charlie Cox, who plays Matt Murdock on Netflix’s “Daredevil,” is seen as having expressed reservations about working on an origin story.

“Some of you just wanna know if I like #KingArthur ?,” he wrote on Twitter, along with a photo of his own set of armor.

“Hell no, I love exploring the origin stories of these characters,” he added. “If the material was there I would be intrigued to try something like this. But it’s not and my loyalty will always be to my more well known characters.”

The writer of the original “The Prince of Wales” pilot, Christopher Cazenove, told ” Deadline ,” he was not in contact with anyone at the BBC since the start of the year.

Despite numerous production issues for “The Prince of Wales,” and the #MeToo movement that has hit Hollywood hard, he said he was confident the project would “find a home somewhere.”

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