Kaamelott is a French comedy medieval fantasy television series created, directed, written, scored, and edited by Alexandre Astier, who also stars as the main character. Based on the Arthurian legends, it follows the daily lives of King Arthur (Astier) and his Knights of the Round Table in Camelot. The series, which originally ran for six seasons (referred to as "books"), run from 2005 to 2009, on the network M6.
The series was preceded in 2003 by a short movie, Dies iræ, with mostly the same cast and concept, which was used to pitch the idea of the series to the network, which at a time was looking to replace another successful short TV series, Caméra Café. However, Kaamelott exceeded Caméra Cafés audience only three weeks after broadcasting started. It is widely regarded as one of the best, most iconic, and most popular French TV series of all time. It has also been praised for its fidelity as, outside of comedic liberties, it stays highly relevant to the mythology and to the historic context.
While the series takes place in the 5th century, it uses modern language and situations to create a humorous view of the Arthurian legend. However, in latter seasons, the mood becomes darker and more dramatic as Arthur's kingdom begins to disintegrate. The cast features regular collaborators of Astier, including Jean-Christophe Hembert (Karadoc) who directed his two subsequent one-man shows, as well as Astier's father Lionnel, his mother Joëlle Sevilla and his half-brother Simon also star in the show as Leodegrance, Dame Séli and their son Ywain respectively.
Since the end of the series in 2009, Astier worked on a film trilogy to conclude the series. Shooting was originally planned for 2014, but production was suspended due to production company refusing to handle the rights of Kaamelott to him. In November, 2015, Astier won back the rights of the series and started production again, with shooting currently planned for summer 2016.
The episode format of Kaamelott is very short. The show runs two three and a half minute episodes every weekday (Monday-Friday) during French Prime Time from 8:30-8:40 on the M6 television network. All ten of the weeks episodes are re-shown every Saturday, making the full runtime for the weekly show 35 minutes, which is comparable to the English hour long format running 42 minutes or the British half hour format running 30 minutes. Each episode features a teaser, opening titles, three acts, closing titles and a tag. Each season, called a livre meaning "book" in french has 100 episodes, making each season 10 weeks long.The first 3 seasons of the show had no real story and the episodes could be watched in any order. However, In Season 4 more than half the episodes were connected to a story arc. Episodes 99 and 100 were one long episode with no break in between.
Costuming continuity is achieved by having the characters dressed in exactly the same clothes throughout every episode. The Knights wear armor when seated at the Round Table or when the scene is a battle exterior. When not in armor the Sir Karadoc wears Red, Sir Perceval wears blue, Sir Lancelot wears a cream/off-white, Sir Bors wears green, King Leodegan wears gray or gray blue and King Arthur wears black with dark red.
- Alexandre Astier: Arthur, King of Britain
- Lionnel Astier: Leodegan, King of Cameliard, Guinevere's Father
- Simon Astier: Yvain, Knight of the Round Table, Guenivere's Brother (not canon)
- Anne Girouard: Guinevere, Queen of Britain, Arthur's Wife
- Joelle Sevilla: Seli, Queen of Cameliard, Leodegan's Wife, Guinevere's Mother
- Jacques Chambon: Merlin, Wizard
- Thomas Cousseau: Lancelot of the Lake, Knight of the Round Table
- Nicolas Gabion: Bors, Knight of the Round Table
- Franck Pitiot: Perceval, Knight of the Round Table
- Jean-Christophe Hembert: Karadoc, Knight of the Round Table
- Aurelien Portehaut: Gawain, Knight of the Round Table, Arthur's Nephew
- Caroline Pascal: Demetra, Arthur's Mistress
- Audrey Fleurot: The Lady of the Lake
- Bruno Fontaine: Elias, Wizard
- Josee Drevon: Ygerne, Queen of Tintagel, Arthur's Mother
A large portion of the cast are friends and family of Alexandre Astier. Leodegan is played by Astier's father Lionel. Seli is played by Astier's mother Joelle. Yvain is played by Astier's half brother Simon, meaning that father and son (Lionel and Simon) play father and son (Leodegan and Yvain) on the tv show. Lastly Arthur's mother Ygerne is played by Astier's step-mother Josee.