ITV has commissioned an “epic re-imagining” of Beowulf – the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and one of the most important Anglo-Saxon works of literature.
Set in the mythical Shieldlands, a place of spectacle and danger populated by both humans and fantastical creatures, the series is described as “a western set in the Dark Ages of Britain’s mythic past”.
It’s been created by James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman and will be produced by ITV Studios.
The first episode sees Beowulf who, after spending many years wandering as a mercenary warrior, returns to Herot to pay his respects to the recently deceased Thane, Hrothgar – the man who raised him.
But when Herot is attacked by the terrifying monster Grendl, Beowulf has no choice but to hunt it down, winning favour with Herot’s new female Thane, and the wider community, in the process.
And so begins a personal journey that sees this mighty and capable man slowly reconnect with the notion of family and home…
James Dormer (Strike Back, Wallander, Outcast) who will write and executive produce said: “Hundreds of years ago our ancestors listened to the story of Beowulf because it was a great adventure story – it scared them, thrilled them, made them laugh and cry.
“But they also listened because they recognised themselves and their fears in it. By holding a mirror up to them this story helped define them and thus – us.
“So it’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to make it relevant again for a wide audience – to let them own it again. To let them see themselves in it.”
Beowulf has been commissioned for ITV by Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.
“Beowulf is a series with a charismatic protagonist at its heart,” said November.
“Equally it’s a spirited and fascinating ensemble drama with each character taking their own emotional and sometimes perilous journey. We’re delighted to be commissioning Beowulf and to be working with Tim Haines and his production team,” he added.
Filming will begin in the North East in April 2015 with casting to be announced later.