Nobleman Robert Catesby was the real brains of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament — Fawkes was just the fall Guy.
Now, Catesby’s direct descendant, Game Of Thrones hunk Kit Harington, is set to play his conspiring relative in new BBC1 drama Gunpowder.
The three-parter will show how Catesby led the Catholic conspiracy to assassinate England’s protestant King James I on November 5, 1605.
Kit, best known to GoT fans as Jon Snow, hopes it will explode the myth that his ancestor and his fellow plotters were just madmen.
The 30-year-old said: “It’s maybe one of the first instances of ideological terrorism in Western Europe by a group of young men disenfranchised and pushed to the margins.
“They were stamped on because they were Catholic.”
Gunpowder is set amid the violent persecution of Catholics in the early 1600s and is perhaps not one to watch with dinner.
Scenes of disembowelments, torture, hangings and mutilation are expected to bring a taste of Game Of Thrones to the BBC.
The similarities to Sky Atlantic’s hit fantasy series do not stop there either, with the grit offset by a sexy cast, including Hollywood beauty Liv Tyler as Catesby’s cousin Lady Anne Vaux and Downton Abbey’s Tom Cullen as Fawkes.
But the man most people mistake as the architect of the doomed plot plays a relatively small role.
Kit said: “Guy Fawkes was the tip of the iceberg. Many people know he was working with plotters but don’t know much about who they were or what their motives were.
“So little is known about the lead-up to the night of November 5, and what happened after it.
“In Gunpowder, we show the whole story. We’re trying to tell the story from the plotters’ perspective.”
The drama was a deeply personal project for Kit, whose production company created it in conjunction with the BBC.
His mum Deborah’s maiden name is Catesby, and another of his ancestors, Sir John Harington — who invented the flushing toilet — was in Parliament when the plot was foiled.
Kit said: “When Catesby’s head was marched past the Houses of Parliament on a pike, John Harington, on my father’s side, who was in the Houses of Parliament at the time, looked at him and was quoted as saying, ‘He’s an ugly fellow, isn’t he?’”
But to those who knew him best, Catesby was just as much of a pin-up as Kit.