Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Saxon Stories’ novels are to be adapted for BBC Two by Stephen Butchard, writer of Good Cop and House of Saddam.
An eight part series, entitled The Last Kingdom, is to be produced by Carnival Films and BBC America and will go into production later this year for transmission in 2015.
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 series will combine real historical figures and events with fictional characters as it tells 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.
“Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way,” said co-executive producer 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.”
Kim Shillinglaw, Controller, BBC Two, added: “BBC Two has a great reputation for distinctive, surprising drama – I’m delighted we are doing The Last Kingdom, an epic piece from a highly regarded creative team.”