One to watch: World Without End

Miranda Richardson stars as Mother Cecilia
Miranda Richardson stars as Mother Cecilia. Image: Channel 4 Television
This weekend sees the arrival of World Without End, Channel 4s latest big budget drama and the all-star sequel to Ken Follett’s epic The Pillars of the Earth.

We were treated to an early screening of the first episode last last year and have been eagerly anticipating the rest of the series.

The six-part series stars Cynthia Nixon, Peter Firth, Charlotte Riley and Miranda Richardson and is set in the aftermath of a civil war in Medieval England.

The story starts when Queen Isabella (Aure Atika) defeats her husband, making way for their son, Edward III, (Blake Ritson) to be crowned King.

Across the Kingdom, a mysterious knight seeks shelter in the town of Kingsbridge where he’s nursed back to health. But the act of kindness helps unleash a chain of events which bring terror to the town.

All of which happens in the first few minutes – we’re not ones to spoil a good drama, and this one is exceptionally good.

In later episodes the story moves on to look at how the outbreak of the Black Death sweeps through all of England, ignoring the class divisions of the time.

The series was filmed primarily in Hungary which allowed the production team to build a full-size, 360 degree Kingsbridge to life.

Though the entire cast are impressive, Richardson is especially noteworthy as a Mother Cecilia, a woman of God determined not to allow gender to diminish her standing in the world, while Firth is positively scheming as Royal rear-kisser Sir Roland.

If you like your dramas laced with historical scheming & intrigue and smouldering sexuality then World Without End is a must watch.

Channel 4, Saturday 12th January 2013 from 9pm