Michael Hirst (writer)

Michael Hirst (born 21 September 1952)[1] is an English screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his films Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), as well as the Emmy Award-winning television series The Tudors and Vikings.[2] Hirst owns Green Pavilion Entertainment, a production company he launched in December 2017.[3]

Michael Hirst
Born (1952-09-21) 21 September 1952 (age 70)
Bradford, Yorkshire, England
OccupationScreenwriter, producer
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
GenreHistorical fiction
SubjectHistory of England
Notable worksElizabeth (1998)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
The Tudors (2007–2010)
Vikings (2013–2020)

Early lifeEdit

Hirst was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire and grew up in Ilkley. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School and attended the London School of Economics. He received a First Class Joint-Honours Degree in English and American Literature from the University of Nottingham and studied Henry James' writings at Trinity College, Oxford.[1][4]

Hirst was originally going to be an academic, but decided to become a screenwriter after Nicolas Roeg read one of his short stories and asked Hirst to write screenplays for him.[1]


Hirst was head writer, creator, and executive producer of the Showtime television drama series The Tudors which aired from 2007 to 2010. It tells the story of King Henry VIII and his Six Wives as well as his court and the dilemmas throughout his kingdom during his reign.

Hirst is one of the co-writers on the screenplay for the James Dalessandro book, 1906. The story follows a young man who discovers a series of secrets and lies that left San Francisco highly vulnerable to the fires that engulfed it in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake. Brad Bird was the director; it was released in 2012.

Hirst had been chosen to write the movie adaptation of Stuart Hill's best-selling book: The Cry of the Icemark before it was put on hold and is also set to adapt Bernard Cornwell's book Azincourt, which tells the story of King Henry V of England and the Battle of Agincourt.

In 2011, he co-produced the series Camelot with Chris Chibnall for Starz.

Hirst produced The Borgias television series for Showtime. The Borgias tells the story of the notorious Borgia family. It stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI, his first series-regular role. The show was created by Neil Jordan, with filming beginning in the summer of 2010 and ran for three seasons.[5]

Hirst was developing a feature film about Mary Queen of Scots with Working Title Films, to star Saoirse Ronan.[6] The film was further developed without Hirst's involvement and released in 2018, written by Beau Willimon and directed by Josie Rourke.

Premiering in 2013, Hirst created Vikings, the History Channel's first foray into serialised drama. It stars Gabriel Byrne, Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Katheryn Winnick, Jessalyn Gilsig, and Gustaf Skarsgård.[7]

In 2019, Hirst began working with writer Jeb Stuart on the sequel to Vikings called Vikings: Valhalla which is set approximately 100 years after the end of Vikings[8] and is expected to release on Netflix in 2022.[9]

In 2021, Billy the Kid was bought by Epix; Hirst writes and executive produces. It premiered in 2022.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

His daughters are Maude Hirst and Georgia Hirst. They have made appearances on his shows, the former on The Tudors and both on Vikings.



Year Title Notes
1988 The Deceivers
Wherever You Are... [pl]
1990 Fools of Fortune
1991 The Ballad of the Sad Cafe
Meeting Venus
1994 Uncovered
1998 Elizabeth
2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age Also executive producer
TBA 1906


Year Title Writer Executive Producer Creator Notes
2002 The Young Casanova Yes No No credit Television film
2005 Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II Yes No No credit Television film
2007–2010 The Tudors Yes Yes Yes Created and wrote all 38 episodes
Executive produced 32 episodes
2011 Camelot Story Yes Yes Created and executive produced all 10 episodes
Wrote story for episode "Homecoming"
2013–2020 Vikings Yes Yes Yes Wrote and executive produced all 89 episodes
2022–present Vikings: Valhalla No Yes No credit
2022-present Billy the Kid Yes Yes No credit


  1. ^ a b c Horgan, Richard (27 February 2013). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, MICHAEL HIRST, CREATOR OF THE TUDORS AND VIKINGS?". Mediabistro. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Michael Hirst, the Tudors".
  3. ^ Clarke, Stewart (20 December 2017). "'Vikings' Creator Launches Production Company, Pacts With MGM for 'Ronin'". Variety. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  4. ^ Gordon, Diane (27 June 2013). "EMMY SPOTLIGHT – SHOWRUNNER: MICHAEL HIRST, WRITER AND EXEC. PRODUCER, VIKINGS". ssninsider.com. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  5. ^ Showtime having a Renaissance festival with 'The Borgias' Archived 8 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Saorise Ronan Is ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ in ‘Elizabeth’ Writer Michael Hirst’s New Film
  7. ^ Five New Cast Members Join History’s ‘Vikings’
  8. ^ Nellie Andreeva (19 November 2019). "'Vikings: Valhalla': Netflix Orders 'Vikings' Sequel Series From Michael Hirst, Jeb Stuart & MGM TV". Deadline Hollywood.
  9. ^ Shaw-Williams, Hannah (2 January 2021). "Vikings Future Explained: Season 7 & Valhalla Spinoff Series: Vikings season 7 isn't going to happen, but fans of History's Norse saga can return to Kattegat in the upcoming spinoff series Vikings: Valhalla". Screen Rant.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (4 May 2021). "'Billy the Kid' Series From Michael Hirst Ordered By Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

External linksEdit