I’ve been reading Arthurian lore and stories since I was a child in the 1960s, so there were countless occasions when I tried to conjure a mental image of this mysterious figure from the Dark Ages. It wasn’t until I watched the incomparable Excalibur that King Arthur became a real person of flesh and blood for me, so as far as I’m concerned, Nigel Terry will always be “Rex quondam, rexque futurus” and I can think of no higher accolade than this.
‘But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seest—if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)—
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.’
Tennyson: Idylls of the King.