The Once and Future King: Review: 2: The Sword in the Stone

Once and Future 2aRadio 4, 16/22 November and available here via iPlayer

2 a.m. the night before the final battle, and Merlyn and Arthur look back over Wart’s continued training, as well as Lancelot’s arrival at court…

Brian Sibley’s adaptation of T.H. White’s epic continues with a second episode devoted, in the main, to the first book of the saga, culminating in Wart’s removal of the sword from the stone (with off-stage voices greeting him magnificently), and his coronation as King Arthur. It’s not confined to those events though: Sibley incorporates the first encounter between Lancelot (or rather, the man who will be Lancelot, a name he only takes later) and Arthur, as well as the odd update on the progress of the preparations.

There’s more out and out comedy in this episode compared with its predecessor; White uses the humour just as much to get his points across as the more serious moments. Everything that Wart is taught becomes relevant to his drawing the sword from the stone (as well as having implications for the future), and you can see why Merlyn is reminding him of these key lessons at such a critical time in the king’s life.

Verdict: Entrancing and all too human (the argument about the wording on the stone, for example), this serial continues to captivate. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here for our review of episode 1

and here for the first part of our behind the scenes coverage with Brian Sibley




  1. Pingback: Live action Sword in the Stone on the way from Disney | Sci-Fi Bulletin - July 21, 2015

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