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Series / Covington Cross

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How many times have I told you, NOT in the castle!
Sir Thomas Grey of Covington, Knight of the Realm and irate parent.

This short-lived British-American series followed the lives, loves and deadly feuds of the Grey family of Covington Cross circa 1392. The head of the family is the beleaguered Sir Thomas Grey, who is called upon to deal with Armus, the eldest son who has abjured knighthood in favor of cooking - and eating; Richard, the impetuous, impulsive second son; Cedric, destined for the Church but a terror with the ladies, and Eleanor, the fiery redhead daughter who'd rather be one of the boys. There is also a fourth son, William, who departs for the wars after the pilot, and Sir Thomas' continuing love interest, the Lady Elizabeth from the castle next over.

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Sometimes referred to in the Society for Creative Anachronism as "Beverly Hills 902 A.D." Any resemblance to actual 14th-century England is purely coincidental - but what the heck!


Tropes

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Invoked by the Mother Superior at a local convent. Suspicious that Cedric is faking his injury to seduce her convent girls, the old lady plays at being a Dirty Old Woman and loudly invites him to bed her. He's on his feet and out the window pretty quickly after that.
  • Action Girl: Eleanor, who hardly ever wears dresses, totes around a crossbow wherever she goes, and is often seen practicing swordplay in the yard.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Greys are constantly feuding with John Mullens, their neighbor. There's plenty to feud about since he has designs on Thomas's estate, his son was killed by Eleanor, and Cedric romantically pursues his daughter Alexandra.
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  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A platonic example amidst the Grey family. The siblings squabble like there's no tomorrow and their father complains constantly about how insufferable they are — but it's obvious they all adore each other, and always have each other's backs.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: When a bunch of nobles are held hostage, the Grey family has to save the day using weapons from the Duke of Arundel's private collection. Two-hundred-year-old weapons are still museum pieces, even in the middle ages!
  • Cartwright Curse: Any girl who gets involved with a Grey boy will not outlast the episode, nor will any boy attracted to Eleanor.
  • The Casanova: Cedric is really not suited to the Church.note 
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  • December–December Romance: By today's standards, Thomas and Elizabeth are only just edging past middle-age; in the time in which they live, they would definitely be considered to share a late-in-life romance.
  • Dreadful Musician: Judging by her brothers' faces, Eleanor is this when she takes it upon herself to learn the harpsichord.
  • Face Palm: Sir Thomas too many times to list.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Obviously.
  • Fiery Redhead: Eleanor
  • Flynning: And how! The opening sequence of the pilot is a spectacular and no doubt horribly inaccurate swordfight between two fully armored knights ended by Sir Thomas' outraged: "How many times have I told you NOT in the castle!"
  • Food Fight: The Covington kids get into these all the time.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: What's most bewildering about Mullens's hatred of the Greys is that after his only son dies at Eleanor's hands in the pilot episode, it's never brought up again!
  • Gentle Giant: Armus, who'd rather cook than fight but is darn good at both.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Armus falls in love with a young woman and convinces Richard to romance her on his behalf. Unfortunately, the woman in question prefers Richard's advances, and after being furious at his brother for a little while, he arranges it so the two of them can meet in private and confess their love for each other.
  • Meta Casting: This isn't the first, or even the most famous, time that Nigel Terry and Cheri Lunghi have played a noble couple in a Medieval period piece.
  • The Middle Ages
  • Morality Pet: Mullens truly loves his daughter Alexandra, enough that he doesn't want her to know just how terrible he really is.
  • Not Me This Time: When a furious father bursts into Covington Cross and accuses Thomas's "scheming, lecherous son" of seducing his daughter, Thomas's first reaction is to yell: "CEDRIC!" Turns out it wasn't Cedric that time.
  • Only Sane Man: Sir Thomas again.
  • Parental Favoritism: Thomas is a good father to all his children, but Cedric and Eleanor are clearly his favorites: the former because he's the most like his late wife, and the latter because she's Daddy's Girl.
  • Proper Lady: Elizabeth, from head to toes. She's never not gracious, elegant and calm.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Thomas commands the respect of his children and household staff by being firm, just and gentle. Lady Elizabeth has a good head on her shoulders too.
  • Rebellious Princess: Eleanor. Not strictly a princess, but a noblewoman who hates the gender expectations laid upon her, and is largely indulged by her father.
  • Romancing the Widow: Thomas to Elizabeth, who has apparently already had three husbands. And technically she's romancing the widower since Thomas has a late spouse of his own.
  • So Proud of You: Thomas to his children, and they to him practically Once per Episode.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Unusual example in that it is a generational contrast instead of one between peers. Eleanor is the young tomboy, while Elizabeth is the older girly girl. Thomas futilely hopes she'll pass some of her femininity onto his headstrong daughter.


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