Tue 3 Nov 2015
by Michael Shonk
THE WANDERER. Fingertip Film Production for Yorkshire Television, ZDF, and Antena 3, UK, 1994. Thirteen 60m episodes. Cast: Bryan Brown as Adam/Zachary, Tony Haygarth as Godbold, Kim Thomson as Princess Beatrice, Otto Tausig as Mathias and Deborah Moore as Clare. Created by Roy Clarke from an idea by Tom Gabbay. Executive Producers: Keith Richardson and Tom Gabby.
This obscure fantasy with supernatural elements clothed in a road drama format lasted thirteen episodes. It was a European production (Yorkshire TV – British, ZDF – German, and Antena 3 – French) that was offered in U.S. syndication at least twice (according to Broadcasting & Cable) in 1995, but it may never have sold.
The series starred Bryan Brown as twin brothers – good Adam and evil Zachary. The two brothers lived in the 10th Century during the first Millennium where they were locked in a battle between good and evil. Adam won the battle and killed Zachary.
As the second millennium approaches, the brothers are back for a rematch. Adam’s memory of his past life is incomplete while Zachary remembers everything and demands Adam takes him to his grave. Adam can’t remember where the grave is so he wanders around searching for it, stopping to help others and frustrating the impatient Zachary.
Each brother has allies. Adam’s most important ally is former 10th century Monk turn modern-day plumber Godbold. Mathis is rich Adam’s personal assistant who has no connection to Adam’s past. Along the way Adam saves Claire who is really his true love from the 10th century. Fearing for her life Adam continues to push her away, ordering her to leave him and live her new life without him. A modern day woman, she refuses to listen.
Zachary also has an ally the magically gifted Princess Beatrice who a thousand years later remains upset that Adam had rejected her. The cliché over-the-top medieval Princess/witch spends much of her time keeping Zachary focused on the plan to kill Adam and take over the World.
The Wanderer is flawed but watchable in a fun stupid TV sort of way. The acting is not a plus. Brown plays Adam as dull and clueless and Zachary as if he was comedy relief. The writing was at times lazy (sudden visions often guided our travelers). Nor did anyone seem to take the story seriously (Zachary is distracted from taking over the World by his desire to write and star in a musical for the stage). Writer Roy Clarke is best know for his comedy writing in such British series as Open All Hours and Keeping Up Appearance.
YouTube currently has all thirteen episodes except for episode 1 and 6. Below are two examples: Episode 2 “Mind Games” and the series last episode “Knight Time.”
“Mind Games.” Witten by Roy Clarke. Directed by Terry Marcel. GUEST CAST: Alexander Strobele, Ann Kathrin Kramer, and August Schmolzer. *** As Adam wanders searching for where he buried Zachary, he helps a young woman accused of murder.
“Knight Time.” Written by Roy Clarke. Directed by Alan Grint. GUEST CAST: Big Mick, Kenny Baker, and David J. Nicholls. *** The brothers fight at the site of Zachary’s grave. An incredibly annoying stupid ending that disappoints even those with the lowest expectations.
The series has never been and unlikely ever to be released on DVD.