BBC America and BBC Two announced production has begun on the historical drama The Last Kingdom based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories. BAFTA nominee Stephen Butchard adapted Cornwell’s bestselling book series into eight 60 minute episodes starring Alexander Dreymon, Rutger Hauer, David Dawson, Emily Cox, Matthew Macfadyen, Ian Hart, Tobias Santelmann, Thomas W. Gabrielsson, Peter Gantzler, Joseph Millson, Alexandre Willaume, Rune Temte, Henning Valin Jakobsen, Tom Taylor, Jocelyn Macnab, and Madeleine Power.
Nick Murphy’s attached to directing multiple episodes, with Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant, and Stephen Butchard executive producing.
“Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way,” stated Gareth Neame. “In the hands of Stephen Butchard we believe it will make original and engrossing television drama. In part the epic quest of our hero Uhtred, it is also a fascinating re-telling of the tale of King Alfred the Great and how he united the many separate kingdoms on this island into what would become England. Our cast has been drawn together from eight different European countries, providing us with the unique opportunity to create a truly international show, tap into a rich seam of talent and bring them to a new global audience.”
“The Last Kingdom is an engrossing tale of warrior kings, tested loyalties and the universal human search for identity. We couldn’t have a better team onboard to deliver a drama of epic scale brimming with excitement, smart storytelling and compelling characters,” explained Richard De Croce, SVP Programming, BBC AMERICA.
The Plot [Courtesy of BBC America]
9th century AD; many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, only the great Kingdom of Wessex stands defiant under its visionary King Alfred the Great (Dawson). It is the last kingdom.
Against this turbulent backdrop lives Uhtred (Dreymon), born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he – Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, recapture his ancestral lands.
The Last Kingdom, made by Carnival Films (Downton Abbey), is a show of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity. Combining real historical figures and events with fictional characters, it is the story of how a people combined their strength under one of the most iconic kings of history in order to reclaim their land for themselves and build a place they call home.
-By Rebecca Murray
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