The Last Kingdom

BBC Two has a great reputation for distinctive, surprising drama - The Last Kingdom is an epic piece from a highly regarded creative team.Kim Shillinglaw, Controller, BBC Two
Date: 08.10.2015     Last updated: 08.10.2015 at 16.33
Category: BBC Two; Drama
The Last Kingdom is an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling series of books by BAFTA-nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard.

The Last Kingdom, a new historical 8x60 drama series launches on BBC Two and BBC America in October. Made by Carnival Films, the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning producers of Downton Abbey, the show airs on BBC America on 10 October 2015 and later the same month on BBC Two.

BAFTA-nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, (Good Cop, Five Daughters, House Of Saddam), has adapted Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling franchise The Saxon Stories for the screen. Cornwell is also known for his much-loved Sharpe novels that became the long-running TV series of the same name starring Sean Bean.

The series cast is headed up by Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story, Blood Ransom), playing Uhtred of Bebbanburg, with Emily Cox (Homeland) as Brida, Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, Galavant) as Ravn, Matthew Macfadyen (The Enfield Haunting, Ripper Street) as Lord Uhtred, David Dawson (Peaky Blinders) as Alfred, Rune Temte (Eddie the Eagle) as Ubba, Ian Hart (Boardwalk Empire) as Beocca and Adrian Bower (Mount Pleasant) as Leofic.

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 is full 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.

Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant and Stephen Butchard serve as executive producers. Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation) is the co-executive producer and has directed multiple episodes, and Chrissy Skinns (Mr Selfridge, Marchlands) is the producer. The commissioning editor is Polly Hill for the BBC while Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, and Richard De Croce, SVP Programming, are overseeing the series for BBC America.

“Cornwell's Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way,” says Gareth Neame. “In the hands of Stephen Butchard, we believe it makes 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.”

Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two, adds: "BBC Two has a great reputation for distinctive, surprising drama - The Last Kingdom is an epic piece from a highly regarded creative team."

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