Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands
Beowulf is a British epic fantasy drama television series broadcast by ITV. It was created by James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman. Dormer wrote the series based on the poem Beowulf and executive-produced it along with Haines and Newman, while Stephen Smallwood produced the series. The series began airing in the United Kingdom on 3 January 2016 and in the United States from 23 January 2016. Shortly after the series began, ITV announced that it would not be picked up for another season; the show ended after 12 episodes.
|Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||46 mins approx (exc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||ITV Studios|
|Original network||ITV, STV, UTV|
|Picture format||16:9 1080i|
|Original release||3 January –|
20 March 2016
When Beowulf returns to his native Herot, he discovers that Thane Hrothgar (his adoptive father) is dead. Hrothgar's wife (Rheda), who had rejected the young Beowulf, is named his successor. His step-brother (Slean) is furious both because of his return and also for not being named Thane.
Now everything is a political game, because Rheda, the regent, has to bet on the support of the heads of the other villages, to keep the title of Jarl (head of the alliance), a position everyone would kill for.
The political war for power is combined with the struggle for survival among men (the red blood) and those creatures born of mud (the black blood) that had once ruled the lands that men now rule.
Love, secrets, betrayal, and unthinkable and incomprehensible ties between red blood and black blood, are the forces that drive each of the inhabitants of this remote land.
- Holly Earl as Kela
- Kieran Bew as Beowulf
- Lee Boardman as Hane
- David Bradley as Gorrik
- Lolita Chakrabarti as Lila
- Elliot Cowan as Abrican
- Laura Donnelly as Elvina
- Gísli Örn Garðarsson as Breca
- David Harewood as Scorann
- Edward Hogg as Varr
- William Hurt as Hrothgar
- Ian Puleston-Davies as Lagathorn
- Edward Speleers as Slean
- Ellora Torchia as Vishka
- Joanne Whalley as Rheda
- David Ajala as Rate
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Episode 1: The Return"||Jon East||James Dormer||3 January 2016ITV Hub 23 December 2015 )(|
|2||"Episode 2: The Gathering"||Jon East||James Dormer||10 January 2016|
|3||"Episode 3"||Julian Holmes||Guy Burt||17 January 2016|
|4||"Episode 4"||Julian Holmes||Michael A Walker||24 January 2016|
|5||"Episode 5"||Stephen Woolfenden||Guy Burt & Jon Cooksey||31 January 2016|
|Beowulf and his group travel to the Mere with the weapons promised to Thane Gorrik. They soon discover new dangers await them when the aging Thane welcomes them with hostility, until his daughter falls ill. Beowulf and Breca must then set out to find the cure and save her.|
|6||"Episode 6"||Colin Teague||Guy Burt||7 February 2016|
|Beowulf is rebuilding the town's defences when a troll unexpectedly attacks. While he and Breca travel to the forest to stave off further attacks, Slean leaves Herot and travels to Bregan after overhearing a conversation between Elvina and Beowulf.|
|7||"Episode 7"||Colin Teague||Guy Burt||14 February 2016|
|While Beowulf fights off the invading Wulfing tribe, Rheda faces up to Jogan, an enemy from her past. Meanwhile, Abrecan questions whether Slean would be brave enough to betray his mother.|
|8||"Episode 8"||Stephen Woolfenden & Kerric MacDonald||James Dormer & Michael A. Walker||21 February 2016|
|As Slean and Kela prepare for their wedding, Abrecan is forced to choose to accept Rheda's new laws which have spread throughout the tribe or take a stand against his sister.|
|9||"Episode 9"||Cilla Ware||James Dormer||28 February 2016|
|A romance blossoms between Beowulf and Elvina, but when the two are captured, Elvina is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past.|
|10||"Episode 10"||Cilla Ware||Jack Lothian||6 March 2016|
|While Beowulf struggles to come to terms with his relationship with Elvina, Rheda travels to face up to her brother as Herot's defences are on the brink of collapse.|
|11||"Episode 11"||Marek Losey||Guy Burt||13 March 2016|
|Rheda escapes from custody in Bregan, but now faces her biggest threat as Herot is threatened with invasion by Abrecan's forces.|
|12||"Episode 12"||Marek Losey||Guy Burt||20 March 2016|
|The future of Herot rests on Rheda's shoulders and with the help of Beowulf, stands to fight against her brother's forces.|
On 12 March 2015, Kieran Bew was cast in the series to play the title role; other cast included William Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Ed Speleers, David Ajala, Ian Puleston-Davies, Ellora Torchia, Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Susan Aderin, Kirsty Oswald, Laura Donnelly, Edward Hogg, Alex Price, Jack Rowan, and Itoya Osagiede. On 17 April 2015, David Harewood was added to the cast. Additional casting was announced on 19 August 2015, including Joe Sims, Lee Boardman, David Bradley, Ace Bhatti, and Grégory Fitoussi.
Filming on the series began in April 2015 in Weardale, County Durham. The main outdoor set was built on the site of a former cement works south of Eastgate, which is west of Stanhope. Filming also took place across Northumberland, and a film crew was spotted on the beach at Bamburgh in late April. In June, a set was built in the sand dunes at Druridge Bay, and another on the shoreline of Derwent Reservoir. The main filming studios in the North East were located at the former Dewhirst clothing factory and warehouse, in Blyth, Northumberland.
Kieran Bew said he had started to put down roots in Los Angeles when he was cast in the title role: "It's been incredible to come back home... I got this job and literally ended up working 20 minutes from where I grew up. It's really strange and really lovely to drive to work and see signs like Spennymoor and Darlington." 
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The series has received mixed reviews holding a 5.5 average rating on review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes. Positive reviews have garnered approval for the plot, creature mythology, and writing, with one television critic praising the series for its set design and special effects. Negative reviews have tended to say the series feels too derivative of works like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Esquire stated that the show "seems determined to remain true to source material, which involves a lot of glowering, growling and stomping around. That may have been enough two millenniums ago, but in 21st century America, it's a bit of a buzzkill."  Ed Power of The Telegraph said of the show, "Cheap-looking special effects, a bland hero and barely any resemblance to the source material makes this Beowulf a flop." 
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