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BBC America Announces New Series The Last Kingdom
Posted by Joseph Lee on 07.09.2014



Coming Soon reports that BBC America, Carnival Films (Downton Abbey) and BBC Two have announced that production on a new historical drama series called The Last Kingdom will begin in the fall. It's based on The Saxon Stories series of books by Bernard Cornwell. The first season will include eight hour-long episodes written by Stephen Butchard (Good Cop, House of Saddam).

Here's a synopsis: Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great. Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. 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, seek to recapture his ancestral lands. "The Last Kingdom" offers heroic deeds and epic battles, but is said to also aim for 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."

BBC executive Gareth Neame said: "Cornwell's Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way. 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."

Richard De Croce, SVP Programming for BBC America, added: "We couldn't be more pleased to be working with BBC Two and Carnival Films a hugely successful British production company that really knows how to create a hit for the US. 'The Last Kingdom' is an engrossing story of epic scale that will feed our audience's appetite for excitement, smart storytelling and compelling characters."

Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning for BBC, said: "I hope 'The Last Kingdom' will expand BBC Two's distinctive portfolio of drama. It's an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact."

Butchard, Neame and Nigel Marchant are the executive producers with Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation), who will also direct several episodes. Chrissy Skinns (Mr Selfridge, Marchlands) will produce.





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