Peter

"... Doctor Robert Helm, played by Peter Wingfield; no stranger to a sword himself..."
Xposé Special #13, 5 Oct 2000

Wingfield @wingfieldfans.org Dr Helm

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"Queen of Swords"
by Ian Atkins
Xposé Special #13
5 October 2000

'A slender woman with a quick sword and a hankie on her head'

If you're looking for someone to fight opperssion, then look no further, for Tessa Alvarado is swashbuckling in your area. Ian Atkins examines the quality of his blade.

What with Xena, Witchblade and Highlander: The Raven, you can barely moved at present for women with great lumps of metal in their hands looking to cut you to pieces. Filmed on location in a passionate, romantic, exciting Spanish setting, new show Queen of Swords presents the latest female blade-wielder to swash her buckle when no one's looking, in the form of sultry Maria Alvarado.

Maria lives an artistocratic lifestyle in 19th Century California, where Colonel Luis Montoya is ruling over the peasant population with his iron fist, and the oppressed masses aren't going to take that lying down any more. The heroic Queen of Swords (fires of righteousness burning deep within her breast) begins to right back as their champion, a slender woman with a quick sword and a hankie on her head, righting wrongs, battling for justice, and no doubt causing fat guards to stumble around with their pants round their ankles. Yes, think Zorro with a bigger pair of maracas and you won't be far off in this new series, premiering in October from some of the people behind shows such as Highlander: The Raven, Due South, Robocop: Prime Directives and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. Of course, Maria is this masked (hankied?) figure, living not one, not two, but three different lives as part of her mission to rid California of tyranny. Presumably just in time for the film and TV industries to take over.

Newcomer Tessie Santiago plays the mysterious, black-clad Queen of Swords, as well as aristocratic Maria Teresa Alvarado (flames of contempt flaring deep within her dimples) and young peasant woman Tessa (sparks of... er... extreme irritation flashing deep within her dark eyes). She's ably supported by, amongst others, English Doctor Robert Helm, played by Peter Wingfield; no stranger to a sword himself, as he played Methos, the oldest Immortal in both Highlander: The Series and recent movie Highlander: Endgame. Hidden away in the credits is executive producer Simon MacCorkindale, who older readers might remember from the morphtastic detective show Manimal, but who's since been busy as both an actor and a producer. With its dusky Spanish (sorry, Californian) women, it's energetic sword-fighting, it's evil oppressors and its central mistress of disguise, the show harks back to simpler times. Whether it can carve a name for itself amongst this year's more complex shows remains to be seen.

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