The Last Kingdom (TV series)

The Last Kingdom is a British historical fiction television series based on Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories series of novels. The first series of eight episodes premiered on 10 October 2015 on BBC America, and on BBC Two in the UK on 22 October 2015. A second series of eight episodes was aired on BBC Two in the UK in March 2017. Netflix was the sole distributor of the third series of ten episodes, produced by Carnival Films, streamed from 19 November 2018. On 26 December 2018, Netflix renewed the show for a fourth series, released on 26 April 2020 and once again produced by Carnival Films. It was renewed for a fifth series on 7 July 2020.[1]

The Last Kingdom
Series title over dying flames
GenreHistorical drama
Based onThe Saxon Stories novels by Bernard Cornwell
Starringsee below
Composer(s)John Lunn
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes36 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Stephen Butchard
Nigel Marchant
Gareth Neame
Producer(s)Chrissy Skinns
Production location(s)Hungary
CinematographyChas Bain
Editor(s)Paul Knight
Running time58–59 minutes
Production company(s)Carnival Film and Television
Release
Original network
First shown inUnited Kingdom
Original release10 October 2015 (2015-10-10) –
present (present)
External links
Website BBC America
Website BBC Two

PremiseEdit

In 866, England is divided into the Heptarchy (seven kingdoms). The Vikings conquer York, and other Anglo-Saxon lands are gradually attacked, plundered and ruled by Viking Danes. Finally, only the Kingdom of Wessex is left. The story covers about 40–45 years by the end of season 4. Season 1 covers the years 866–878, season 2 from 878–886, season 3 from 893–900, and season 4 takes place about 901–910.[citation needed]

The fictional protagonist is Uhtred of Bebbanburg. An earl of that name lived and ruled Bebbanburg (Bamburgh Castle) and Northumbria during the reign of Æthelred II, though about a century after the setting of The Last Kingdom. When Æthelred had the ealdorman of Southern Northumbria, Ælfhelm of York, murdered in 1006, Uhtred the Bold was made earl of a united Northumbria (and likely ealdorman of York), his seat at Bebbanburg. He spent much of his time defending the northern border from the Scots. He fought loyally beside the Anglo-Saxons against the Danes and with Edmund Ironside. In 1016 after Cnut came to power, Cnut had Earl Uhtred killed, along with 40 other Saxon nobles, probably on Christmas Day.[2] In Bernard Cornwell's series he adds a 'historical note' at the end, in which, especially in the first book, he mentions that Uhtred the Bold was his ancestor. He took the liberty of installing Uhtred earlier in history.[3]

The protagonist is re-baptised as Uhtred after his elder brother Uhtred is killed by the Danes; his father, along with other Saxon noblemen of Northumbria, are killed in battle against the Danes. Only his uncle and step-mother survive. Uhtred and a Saxon girl named Brida are taken as slaves by Earl Ragnar, now settled in Danish Northumbria, which becomes their adopted home. Time passes, and Ragnar's daughter Thyra is about to be married, but fellow Danes attack the night before the wedding and set fire to the hall in which the family is sleeping. Ragnar is burned alive, and Thyra taken as a slave. Only Uhtred and Brida escape, as they were away in the woods all night making charcoal. The attackers are led by Kjartan, a disgruntled Viking who had been banished by Ragnar from his lands years earlier for an offence committed by Kjartan's son Sven. Uhtred vows to avenge his adoptive father's death, while simultaneously hoping to reclaim Bebbanburg from his uncle—who seeks to kill Uhtred to keep Bebbanburg for himself. Uhtred is forced to choose between the kingdom of his ancestors and the people who have raised him, and his loyalties are constantly tested.[4]

The first series roughly covers the events of Cornwell's novels The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman, although they are condensed for the screen.[5] The second series covers the happenings of Cornwell's novels The Lords of the North and Sword Song.[6] Series 3 is based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings, but with considerable plot changes.

The third series' ten episodes were produced solely by Netflix. One reviewer indicated that this had a positive effect: "With it came a certain increase in production values, most notably during the epic end-of-episode clash in which the swing of every sword and thwock of every shield hit firmly home," but added that "the blood-and-gore budget has also undergone a significant increase, thanks in large part to the arrival of the beautiful but psychotic Skade (Thea Sofie Loch Næss)".[7] Much of the series was written by Stephen Butchard, and filming was completed in Hungary. These episodes cover the decline in King Alfred's health, according to one report "while he tries to ensure that his fiercely-held vision of a Christian, Saxon Wessex as part of a stable English nation will survive him as his legacy .... the Uhtred-Alfred relationship is at the core of the story".[8] All ten episodes of series 4 appeared on Netflix on 26 April 2020.[9] As in series 3, there are significant plot differences to the books.

CastEdit

MainEdit

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4
Alexander Dreymon Uhtred Main
David Dawson King Alfred Main
Tobias Santelmann Ragnar the Younger Main
Emily Cox Brida Main
Adrian Bower Leofric Main Recurring
Thomas W. Gabrielsson Guthrum Main
Simon Kunz Odda the Elder Main
Harry McEntire Aethelwold Main
Rune Temte Ubba Main
Joseph Millson Aelfric Main Main
Brian Vernel Odda the Younger Main
Amy Wren Mildrith Main
Charlie Murphy Iseult Main
Ian Hart Beocca Main
Eliza Butterworth Aelswith Recurring Main
Thure Lindhardt Guthred Main
Eva Birthistle Hild Recurring Main
Gerard Kearns Halig Recurring Main
David Schofield Abbot Eadred Main
Peri Baumeister Gisela Main
Peter McDonald Brother Trew Main
Mark Rowley Finan Main
Alexandre Willaume Kjartan Recurring Main
Julia Bache-Wiig Thyra Recurring Main
Ole Christoffer Ertvaag Sven Recurring Main
Björn Bengtsson Sigefrid Main
Cavan Clerkin Father Pyrlig Main
Arnas Fedaravičius Sihtric Main
Christian Hillborg Erik Main
Jeppe Beck Laursen Haesten Main
Toby Regbo Aethelred Main
Millie Brady Aethelflaed Main
James Northcote Aldhelm Main
Adrian Bouchet Steapa Main
Ewan Mitchell Osferth Main
Simon Stenspil Dagfinn Main
Timothy Innes Edward Main
Thea Sofie Loch Næss Skade Main
Ola Rapace Earl Sigurd "Bloodhair" Main
Magnus Bruun Cnut Main
Adrian Schiller Aethelhelm the Elder Main
Kevin Eldon Bishop Erkenwald Main
Jamie Blackley Eardwulf Main
Stefanie Martini Eadith Main
Finn Elliot Young Uhtred Main
Ruby Hartley Stiorra Main
Richard Dillane Ludeca Main
Dorian Lough Burgred Main
Steffan Rhodri King Hywel Dda Main
Nigel Lindsay Rhodri Main
Eysteinn Sigurðarson Sigtryggr Main
Amelia Clarkson Ælflæd Recurring Main

RecurringEdit

EpisodesEdit

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
1810 October 2015 (2015-10-10)28 November 2015 (2015-11-28)BBC Two
2816 March 2017 (2017-03-16)4 May 2017 (2017-05-04)
31019 November 2018 (2018-11-19)Netflix
41026 April 2020 (2020-04-26)

Episode summariesEdit

Series 1

No.Directed byWritten byOriginal release date
1Nick MurphyStephen ButchardOctober 10, 2015 (2015-10-10)

Osbert, the second son of King Uhtred, sees Viking ships approaching the bay near his father’s castle (Bebbanburg). The attacker is Earl Ragnar, a warlord. King Uhtred sends his eldest son, Uhtred, to spy on the Danes. He provokes them and it costs him his head, whereupon King Uhtred tells Osbert he is henceforth to be called Uhtred son of Uhtred. King Uhtred joins the other two Northumbrian kings (Osbert and Aella) to battle against Ragnar and Ubba (another warlord) at Eoferwic (York), and is killed. Osbert/Uhtred, who is around ten years old, assaults Ragnar who captures him as a slave, along with a Saxon girl, Brida. The Danes kill Kings Osbert and Aella and replace them with an Aelderman, Egbert, who will serve as a puppet king in Northumbria. Osbert/Uhtred’s uncle, Aelferic, claims Bebbanburg. Uhtred saves Ragnar’s daughter, Thyra, from molestation by the shipmaster Kjartan’s son, Sven. Ragnar adopts Uhtred as his son. Some years later on the eve of Thyra’s wedding, Kjartan attacks Ragnar’s settlement, killing Ragnar. Sven captures Thyra as a slave. Uhtred and Brida are in the forest and miss everything. They salvage and hide Ragnar’s treasure for his son, Young Ragnar, who is in Ireland.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novel The Last Kingdom
2Nick MurphyStephen ButchardOctober 17, 2015 (2015-10-17)

Aelferic hunts Uhtred, to kill him. Uhtred seeks out Ubba to tell him what Kjartan did and to ask him to help him reclaim Bebbanburg. En route, Brida and he learn that Uhtred is being blamed for Ragnar’s death. In Wintanceaster (Winchester) in Wessex, Father Beocca, who used to be Uhtred’s mentor in Bebbanburg, has become a spiritual advisor to Prince Alfred, brother to King Aethelred. King Edmund of East Anglia requests assistance from King Aethelred in fighting Ubba. Aethelred tells Aethelwold, his son, that his drunkenness makes him an unsuitable heir. He tells Odda the elder that if he falls in battle, Alfred should be his successor. Ragnar and Brida locate Storri, Ubba’s sorcerer, and take him hostage so that Uhtred can tell Ubba of his innocence without risk of being killed. Storri places a curse of infertility on Brida. Ubba doesn’t believe Uhtred. Uhtred pays a blacksmith to forge a sword for him and to mount the amber stone that was his father’s amulet, into its hilt. He leaves for Wessex, and finds Father Beocca there who introduces him to Alfred. He tells him of his chronicles of historical events and his dream of a united England.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman
3Anthony ByrneStephen ButchardOctober 24, 2015 (2015-10-24)

Upon the advice of Uhtred, King Aethelred leads an army into the confrontation with the Danes and is mortally injured in battle against the warlord, Guthrum, although the Saxons prevail. Aethelwold tries to claim the crown, but the Witan declares Alfred King. Odda the Elder sends Aethelwold to a monastery. Alfred suggests an arranged marriage to give Uhtred land and status, thereby allowing him to have the title of Aelderman. Alfred negotiates with Guthrum and Ubba for peace and is successful. Alfred asks Uhtred to serve him for a year, to advise him on Danish battle skills, and in return will help him reclaim Bebbanburg. He agrees. Leofric, one of Alfred’s leaders of his troops, and Uhtred become friends. Leofric warns him that Alfred will never let him go. Brida miscarries Uhtred’s child. Uhtred and Brida give Earl Ragnar’s treasure to Young Ragnar, who has returned from Ireland. Brida leaves with him.


Based on The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman
4Anthony ByrneStephen ButchardOctober 31, 2015 (2015-10-31)

Uhtred marries Mildrith, Odda’s goddaughter, on the King’s recommendation and becomes an Aelderman. After the marriage, he discovers that she is heavily in debt to the church, and that he is now responsible for the debt. Alfred refuses to cancel the debt. Around a year later Mildrith is expecting a baby and Young Ragnar is marching with an army through Wessex. Uhtred informs the King, who then leads an army to Werham (Wareham) to stop the invasion that is being led by Guthrum (now King of East Anglia) and Ubba. But Ubba leaves for Ireland after learning of the death of his brother, Ivar, thereby weakening Guthrum’s army. Alfred and Guthrum agree on a peaceful withdrawal of the Danes from the fortress of Werham and Wessex. Uhtred is given to Guthrum as one of the hostages exchanged on both sides to guarantee the peace. In the fortress, Uhtred is reunited with Young Ragnar and Brida. Mildrith gives birth to a baby boy. When Uhtred learns that Ubba has returned from Ireland, he escapes from Werham with Ragnar’s help and sends Alfred news of Guthrum’s planned betrayal of the truce.


Based on The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman
5Ben ChananStephen ButchardNovember 7, 2015 (2015-11-07)

Young Odda persuades Mildrith to leave for safety with him. A severe storm decimates Guthrum’s ships that were approaching the Wessex coast. Alfred sends one army led by Odda the Elder to the Severn River to face Ubba, and one to the south of Wessex to face Guthrum. Uhtred finds Odda’s army camp and suggests to him that he sets fire to Ubba’s ships, as a distraction, on condition that Odda attacks Ubba’s army as soon as he sees the fire. Young Odda tries to persuade Odda the Elder to break his promise to Uhtred and use the fire distraction to abandon the camp and bring the army to Alfred’s battleground. Odda the Elder chooses to attack. Ubba discovers Uhtred in his camp and challenges him to a fight to the death. Uhtred kills Ubba, placing his axe in his hand before he dies. Odda’s army attacks and defeats the Danes, but he is seriously injured in battle. Uhtred goes to Odda’s estate to see Mildrith and his son. Young Odda steals Ubba’s axe before he is buried and implies to Alfred that he killed Ubba and saved Wessex. Uhtred, furious at the subterfuge, draws his sword before Alfred and faces death.


Based on The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman
6Ben ChananStephen ButchardNovember 14, 2015 (2015-11-14)

Instead of death, Alfred chooses public humiliation for Uhtred and for Aethelwold, who absconded from the monastery. Uhtred returns to his estate with Mildrith and Leofric. His marriage with Mildrith is struggling because he did not agree that his son should be baptized. Uhtred and Leofric dress as Vikings with the intention of raiding Cornwalum with some of Alfred’s men to acquire some wealth. Aethelwold stalks them and persuades Uhtred to let him join the group. The raid is unsuccessful because the villages are too poor. They encounter Brother Asser who introduces him to King Peredur of the Britons. He convinces them to attack a rival, King Callyn, for an ample reward. Callyn turns out to be a Danish warlord, Skorpa. They join forces to fight Peredur for his wealth, but Uhtred is betrayed by Skorpa who steals the treasure. Uhtred meets the sorceress and shadow queen, Iseult, and is smitten. Iseult shows them where another stash of silver is stored. Uhtred repays his estate’s debt to the church with some of the spoils. He tells Mildrith that their marriage is over. Alfred learns of Uhtred and Leofric’s raid. They are condemned to a fight to the death.


Based on The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman
7Peter HoarStephen ButchardNovember 21, 2015 (2015-11-21)

Leofric and Uhtred make their peace with one another before the fight. Iseult tells Uhtred that she will lose her power as a sorceress and seer if she sleeps with him. A Viking raid led by Young Ragnar and Guthrum disrupts the fight between Leofric and Uhtred. Alfred flees to safety and Aethelwold steals his crown and presents himself as the rightful king of Wessex to Guthrum. Uhtred, Leofric, Iseult, and a nun, Hild, who Iseult rescued, are helped to escape by Brida, whose feelings for Uhtred have clearly changed to indifference. Uhtred and Leofric discover that Alfred and his family are in hiding at the marshlands of the Severn and save them from certain death. Edward, Alfred’s baby son is very ill and feared to be dying. Iseult gives herbal medicine to Alfred and it helps his own health problems. Uhtred advises Alfred to fight for Wessex before the Danes can gather even more forces. Priests are sent to tell his subjects that he is alive and that an army should be gathered. Iseult uses sorcery to save Edmund, but his rescue comes at a gruesome price.


Based on The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman
8Peter HoarStephen ButchardNovember 28, 2015 (2015-11-28)

Alfred wants to fight ‘one defining battle’ with the Danes, at Ethandun. Guthrum decides to send Aethelwold into Alfred’s camp to kill him. Uhtred travels with Leofric, Alfred and his soldiers to Odda’s estate and learns of the death of his son. Mildrith has joined a convent. Iseult tells Uhtred that Thyra is alive. By chance, Alfred learns that Odda the younger has been dealing behind his back with the Danes. Odda the Elder, who has recovered from his injury, kills him for his treachery. Alfred leads his army against Guthrum and Skorpa. Leofric dies in battle. The outcome of the battle is decided when Uhtred realizes that Skorpa has murdered Iseult. Uhtred breaks through the Viking shield wall, kills Skorpa and leads the Saxons to victory. Guthrum is baptized and agrees to peace in Wessex. Brida and Young Ragnar are held by Alfred as hostages to guarantee the truce. Uhtred leaves Wessex for the north of England.


Based on The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman

Series 2

No.Directed byWritten byOriginal release date
1Peter HoarStephen ButchardMarch 5, 2017 (2017-03-05)

Peace has prevailed in Wessex for several years after the Battle of Ethandun. King Alfred has turned his attention to parts of England such as Northumbria and the city of Eoferwic (York) that are occupied by two Viking warlords, Erik and Sigefrid. A cleric brings Alfred news of a holy vision, dreamt by the Abbot Eadred of Cumberland, that tells that Saint Cuthbert wants the Danish slave and son of the warrior Harthacnut, Guthred, who is in the hands of slave-traders, to be appointed as King of Cumberland. Alfred sends Father Beocca and the cleric to Northumbria to buy Guthred and bring him to the Abbot. Uhtred, along with Hild and Halig, rides to Eoferwic in search of Thyra. Erik and Sigefrid leave the city in the hands of the Dane Haesten, before leaving with an army to maraud in Scotland. Soon afterwards, the people of Eoferwic rebel and reclaim the city. Uhtred encounters Father Beocca in Eoferwic. Beocca asks him to help him buy the slave and tells him where to find Kjartan. Guthred is crowned King by the Abbot Eadred, and Uhtred falls for his sister, Gisela. Kjarten learns of Uhtred’s presence in Cumberland.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Lords of the North and Sword Song
2Peter HoarStephen ButchardMarch 23, 2017 (2017-03-23)

Kjarten sends men from his fortress at Dunholm to infiltrate Guthred’s army, as a strategy to capture Uhtred. Guthred sees no danger in integrating the Danes into his army and agrees. Sihtric, one of Kjartan's illegitimate sons swears allegiance to Uhtred. Abbot Eadred systematically builds mistrust of Uhtred, telling Guthred that Uhtred is a pretender to his crown. King Guthred tries to raise an army to reclaim Northumbria from the Danes, beginning with Eoferwic. Guthred fails to convince the earls of Northumbria, but Abbot Eadred’s rhetoric succeeds. Guthred wants to negotiate a truce with Erik and Sigefrid. He offers them the fortress of Dunholm in exchange for Eoferwic, but for this they must join forces to defeat Kjartan. Eadred sends an emissary to Bebbanburg to request support for Guthred’s mission. Lord Aelfric, Uhtred's uncle, agrees to send 200 soldiers if Uhtred is disposed of. Guthred sells Uhtred and Halig into slavery. Hild rides to Wessex to asks for assistance. King Alfred asks Ragnar the Younger to try to find and save Uhtred.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song
3Jon EastBen VanstoneMarch 30, 2017 (2017-03-30)

Uhtred and Halig are now rowers on a slave ship. There they are befriended by the Irishman, Finan, another slave. Halig is ill and weakened from a winter spent on Iceland and is killed by the boat owner Sverri on the return journey to England, in punishment of Uhtred and Finan for their attempt to escape. Young Ragnar, Hild and Steapa wait through autumn and winter for Sverri’s return to Northumberland. Ragnar and Hild are shocked to find Uhtred a broken and frail man. Ragnar frees all the slaves and Finan kills Sverri. Hild tends to Uhtred’s physical and psychological injuries. When Aelfric learns that Uhtred is not dead, he returns to Bebbanburg with his army, thwarting Guthred’s plans to reclaim Northumbria. Guthred offers his sister to Aelfric to create a political union. Eadred goes to the nunnery where Gisela is hiding and marries Gisela to Aelfric by proxy. Uhtred rescues Gisela and kills Abbott Eadred in the process. Alfred decides Ragnar should die because he was responsible for Uhtred. If Uhtred swears an oath of service, Ragnar will be spared.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song
4Jon EastSophie PetzalApril 6, 2017 (2017-04-06)

Ragnar leaves Wessex for Northumbria and resents Uhtred’s decision to remain in Winchester serve Alfred. Uhtred doesn’t reveal his reasons for staying. Uhtred marries Gisela. Alfred sends Uhtred to Cumberland to defeat Erik and Sigefrid. Uhtred raids Erik and Sigefrid’s camp and takes Sigefrid hostage. Erik gives him his word that he will leave Northumbria in exchange for his brother’s life. Uhtred brings Sigefrid’s amputated swordhand to Guthred and insists he gives him an army, or pay with his life. Uhtred and Ragnar raid Dunholm, Kjartan’s fortress. Ragnar kills Kjartan and lets him die without his sword, thus barring his entry to Valhalla. They find Thyra, who is severely traumatized by her life as a slave to Kjartan and his son, Sven. Father Beocca takes her into his care. Ragnar claims Dunholm.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song
5Jamie DonoghueStephen ButchardApril 13, 2017 (2017-04-13)

Three years later, Uhtred has his own estate, Coccham (Cookham), in Wessex. Gisela and he have a son (Young Uhtred) and a daughter (Stiorra). Mercia is being raided by Danes. Sigefrid and Erik have returned and plan to occupy the fortress of Beamfleot (on the Temes river) and the city of Lunden in Mercia, thereby blocking supply chains to Wessex. Aethelwold has been to Daneland and tells Uhtred of a speaking corpse, Bjorn, who has visions of the future. Alfred visits Coccham to reprimand Uhtred for hanging a thief without a trial. He suspects Aethelwold of conspiring against him and also voices suspicion of Uhtred. Bjorn tells Uhtred that he will be King of Mercia. Hild establishes a nunnery at Coccham. Father Beocca reveals his love for Thyra. Alfred has betrothed his daughter, Aethelflaed, to a political ally, Aethelred of Mercia.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song
6Jamie DonoghueStephen ButchardApril 20, 2017 (2017-04-20)

Aethelred insults Gisela and makes an enemy of Uhtred. Father Beocca marries Thyra. Aethelflaed is dazzled by Aethelred’s physical appearance, but after the wedding she discovers his true nature. Leofric’s nephew, Osferth, a monk and Alfred’s illegitimate son, swears allegiance to Uhtred. Uhtred informs Alfred of Sigefrid and Erik’s occupation of Lunden, and Alfred questions Uhtred’s loyalty yet again. Odda the Elder infuriates Alfred by defending Uhtred. Alfred excludes Uhtred from his strategic planning of his attack on Lunden and orders him back to Coccham. Aethelred tells Aethelflaed that she will accompany him to battle. While the armies of Wessex and Mercia attack Lunden, and find it empty, the Danes raid the camp where Aethelflaed resides.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song
7Richard SeniorStephen ButchardApril 27, 2017 (2017-04-27)

Aethelflaed has been kidnapped by Sigefrid and Erik, who have abandoned Lunden in favour of negotiating a ransom for her. Aldhelm, commander of Aethelred‘s household guard, suggests that Uhtred provided the Danes with information as to Aethelflaed’s whereabouts. Erik is becoming smitten by Aethelflaed. Haesten has other plans for her. Erik rescues Aethelflaed from assault and they grow closer. Lady Aelswith overcomes her animosity towards Uhtred and asks Alfred to send him to rescue her. Alfred sends Aethelred and Uhtred to Beamfleot to negotiate the ransom. Odda tells Alfred that if the ransom is too much it will cripple Wessex, and the money will be used to raise an army against Alfred. But if Aethelflaed is left with the Danes she will be a trophy used to humiliate Alfred. Odda suggests that she takes her own life to avert disaster. Aethelred and Uhtred settle on a price with Sigefrid, but Erik tells Uhtred that he can’t let her go back to Wessex.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song
8Richard SeniorStephen ButchardMay 4, 2017 (2017-05-04)

Although the ransom for Aethelflaed amounts to the entire wealth of Wessex, Alfred decides to pay it, even though it will lead to the slaughter of hundreds of his men by the army that the Danes will raise with the payment. Odda reiterates that the costs of saving Aethelflaed will destroy Wessex. Alfred dismisses Odda as his advisor. Aethelflaed writes to Uhtred to ask him to help her escape with Erik. Sigefrid suspects Erik has become too attached to Aethelflaed and locks her in a cage in the main hall of the fortress where all Danes can ensure that she is imprisoned. Odda raises the fyrd of his estate in Devonshire to attack Beamfleot. Three nights before the ransom is to be paid, Uhtred leads a night raid to rescue Aethelflaed. Alfred has brought an army to confront Odda at Beamfleot. Uhtred sets the fortress aflame and uses the distraction to free Aethelflaed. Sigefrid kills Erik. Alfred and Odda’s armies attack the Danes and defeat them. Uhtred stops Sigefrid from killing Aethelred. Aethelflaed kills Sigefrid. She tells Uhtred that she suspects she is expecting Erik’s child. Odda will be put on trial for treachery. Odda takes his own life.


Based on The Lords of the North and Sword Song

Series 3

No.Directed byWritten byOriginal release date
1Erik LeijonborgStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

The warlord Sigurd, called Bloodhair, is aided by the seer Skade in his raids in Wessex. Alfred’s health is deteriorating, but he chooses to raise an army to confront Bloodhair. Aethelred is expected to do the same. But it is Aethelflaed that leads the army in its march to meet Alfred. Uhtred encounters Skade who tells him that she has cursed him. Uhtred tells Alfred, who has settled his camp at Aesceneium Burh (Eashine)in Wessex, that he was not wise to have left Winchester unprotected. Alfred rejects his advice. Skade tells Alfred that he will not live to see another summer. Bloodhair comes to Eashine to claim Skade. Uhtred lures Bloodhair and his men to Fearnham, a location that Alfred and Aethelflaed’s armies will use as a battlefield. Bloodhair’s army is defeated and he flees. When Uhtred returns to Winchester he learns that Gisela has died giving birth to his son.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Burning Land and Death of Kings
2Erik LeijonborgStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Aethelwold begins conspiring against Uhtred. Alfred and his clerics confront Uhtred for his action of disinterring Gisela to give her a pagan funeral. He slaps one of the clerics and he dies as a result. Alfred offers to waive a death penalty in return for 100 pieces of silver and an oath of allegiance to Edward. Uhtred refuses and takes Alfred hostage. He tells him what he thinks of him, then lets him go and escapes. Alfred condemns him to die. Aethelwold visits Aethelred. He asks Aethelred to help him assume the crown of Wessex when Alfred dies. In return, he will help Aethelred become king of Mercia. He suggests that Aethelflaed is killed; Aethelred sends Aldhelm to do the deed. Aethelwold meets with Bloodhair and Haesten and suggests an alliance that includes Ragnar and Uhtred. Aethelwold offers to foment unrest that will aid an uprising. Uhtred is ailing badly from an injury incurred whilst escaping. He believes that recent events are due to Skade’s curse, but if he kills her the curse will remain. Brida and Ragnar’s cousin, Cnut, discover Uhtred and his men, and bring them to Dunholm (Durham). Brida imprisons Skade, but tells Uhtred that Skade could help him wield power.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
3Andy de EmmonyStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Aldhelm tells Aethelflaed that Aethelred wants her killed and she should flee to safety. He tells her because he is loyal to Mercia and not Aethelred. She decamps to a nunnery at Wincelcumb. Alfred is unaware of Aethelred’s treachery. Alfred decides to arrange a marriage for Edward, who is now a teenager. Aelswith wants a betrothal to the daughter of Lord Aethelhelm, the rich and powerful ruler of Wiltunscir. But Edward has secretly married his sweetheart and is the father of twins. Alfred has Uhtred’s children brought to Winchester to be raised as Christians. Uhtred has recovered from his injury. Bloodhair, Haesten and Aethelwold arrive at Dunholm. Ragnar offers him and his men peaceful hospitality. They tell him of their plans. Ragnar contemplates marching with them on Wessex to defeat Alfred. Uhtred and Skade form an alliance. He has promised to stay with Ragnar, but when Aethelflaed contacts him to help her, he leaves Dunholm. Ragnar is disgusted and disappointed at this apparent disloyalty. He disowns Uhtred and grants Bloodhair his wish to fight Uhtred to the death for Skade.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
4Andy de EmmonyStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Uhtred defeats Bloodhair, but Ragnar stops Uhtred from killing him. Uhtred leaves Dunhom with Skade and his men. Brida promises to kill him. Ragnar beats Aethelwold for his role in fomenting intrigue and deceit. Haesten, who is now the Earl of Beamfleot and pretending to be an ally of the King, travels to Wessex and tells him that Ragnar, Bloodhair, Aethelwold and Uhtred have formed an alliance and are amassing an army. He suggests that rather than waiting for an attack on Winchester, Alfred brings his army to meet them. Cnut starts to woo Brida and conspires with Bloodhair against Ragnar. He dares Aethelwold to kill Ragnar in his sleep, which he does. Aethelwold refuses to give Ragnar his axe when he dies, meaning he cannot enter Valhalla and will spend eternity in Niflheim. Uhtred arrives at the abbey where Aethelflaed is hiding. Uhtred gives Skade to Haesten instead of Aethelflaed on condition that he retreats from the Abbey. Alfred sends Edward’s wife to a nunnery, thereby freeing the path to a betrothal with Aethelhelm’s daughter, Aelflaed.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
5Jon EastBen VanstoneNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Brida is devastated by Ragnar’s death. Cnut assumes leadership of the Danes. He tells Brida of his interest in her. She tells him that she knows that either he or Bloodhair killed Ragnar. Cnut denies it. Brida finds Uhtred and tells him of Ragnar’s death. She blames Uhtred because he abandoned Ragnar. Uhtred believes this is all the result of Skade’s curse. Uhtred travels to Aylesbury in Mercia with Aethelflaed, where they ask to see the King. He arranges a Witan. He commutes Uhtred's death sentence because he saved his daughter. Uhtred tells of Haestens’s treachery and tells Alfred he must attack him to prevent the fusion of Haesten’s and Cnut’s army. He asks Alfred to send 1,000 men. Alfred rejects his suggestion. But Edward tells Uhtred that he approves of his plan and will meet him at the forest before Beamfleot with an army. He convinces Alfred to give him the support he needs. Uhtred lures Haesten and his army from Beamfleot with around 30 men. Alfred’s army is hidden in the forest but watches passively as Uhtred’s men are slaughtered in the battle.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
6Jon EastSophie PetzalNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Edward is repelled by his father’s actions and issues the command to enter the battle. Haesten is defeated and absconds with Skade. He reaches Cnut and Bloodhair’s camp and tells them of his defeat. Aethelwold tells them that the key to their success is killing Uhtred. They send him back to Wessex to raise a Saxon army. Within earshot of Bloodhair and Haesten, Cnut tells Aethelwold to kill Uhtred the way he killed Ragnar. Alfred tells Uhtred of Skade’s prediction of his imminent death. Uhtred leaves for Aethelflaed’s estate, Saltwic. He tells his men that they should stay there while he goes to find Ragnar’s killer. Sihtric is furious and chooses to leave Uhtred and join Cnut. Uhtred goes to Ragnar’s burial site and finds Brida there. They visit Storri who tells them that to avenge Ragnar's death and cross from Niflheim to Valhalla, his assassin must be killed with a sword that is coated with Ragnar’s blood, or the blood of his kin. Soon after, Brida kills Storri without breaking his skin and without shedding his blood: by this means she lifts the curse Storri placed on her when she was a young woman.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
7Jan MatthysLydia AdetunjiNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Uhtred returns to Saltwic and tells his men he has to find Skade. Uhtred captures Aethelwold’s man, Offa, on the estate after he fails to kill Uhtred. He sends him back to the Danes’ camp with the message that Haeston, Cnut and Bloodhair will die the way his brother did. Sihtric is at the camp and tells them that Uhtred is weak in mind and body. Cnut and Brida join forces. Bloodhair challenges Haesten to a fight to the death. Skade drugs Bloodhair and kills him during the fight. Edward meets his betrothed, Aelflaed. Aethelwold faces the Witan, but he manages to convince them that he went to the Danes to spy on them. He tells them that Uhtred is the one that betrayed them and that he told the Danes that he would kill Uhtred and that this is why they let him go. Alfred punishes Aethelwold’s treason by cauterizing one of his eyes. Uhtred approaches the Danes' camp and meets Sihtric there. Uhtred and he tell the others that Sihtric's departure for the camp was so that he could spy for Uhtred. Sihtric arranges that Skade meets Uhtred in the night. They escape by boat.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
8Jan MatthysStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Aethelwold has not given up hope of assuming the throne when Alfred dies. He schemes to undermine Edward and spreads rumours that Uhtred aims to take Wessex after Alfred’s demise. Father Beocca is worried about Thyra’s safety, who is experiencing bigotry from the residents of Winchester. Uhtred, who is still considered an outlaw in Wessex, returns to Coccham after a long absence and finds clerics in residency. He discovers that his children are being raised in Winchester as Christians. Uhtred drowns Skade, thus lifting the curse she placed on him. Aelswith and Aethelhelm are united in their animosity towards Uhtred. Alfred wants Uhtred to guide Edward after his death, but will not pardon him before he dies. If he is found on Wessex soil, Uhtred will be executed. On the eve of Edward’s marriage, Uhtred rides to Winchester to ask Thyra for some of her blood for Ragnar. Father Beocca approaches King Alfred and tells him that Uhtred is in the city.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
9Edward BazalgetteStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Uhtred and Alfred meet in secret and make their peace with one another. Alfred asks Uhtred to remain in Winchester until Edward is crowned king. He pardons Uhtred without knowing his final decision. Aethelwold plots have both Alfred and Edward killed so that he can claim the crown. Alfred dies and Aelswith dismisses Father Beocca as advisor to the King. She replaces him with Bishop Erkenwald. She tells Beocca that she intends to rescind Alfred’s pardon of Uhtred. Uhtred is summarily imprisoned. Thyra is stalked by one of Aethelwold’s men. He sets Beocca’s house alight with Thyra inside.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings
10Edward BazalgetteStephen ButchardNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19)

Thyra dies inside Beocca’s burning house. Aethelwold plots with Aethelred to let Edward lead a battle against the Danes resulting in his death in battle. Lord Sigebriht of Cent, will switch sides at the last minute to the Danes, thereby ensuring Edward’s defeat. Uhtred declares that he will follow Edward Rex. In East Anglia, Brida, Cnut and Haeston’s men get ready for an invasion of Mercia. Uhtred learns that he is banished from Wessex. Edward defies his mother’s decision and rescinds Uhtred's outlaw status once again. Uhtred proposes that the battle takes place in the forest near Bedanford. Edward sends letters to the Lords of Wessex to request soldiers for his army. Aethelwold informs the Danes of Uhtred’s plans and that Sigebriht will attack the Saxons from the rear during the battle. Brida knows that Aethelwold killed Ragnar and sends word to Uhtred. The battle commences. Sigebriht decides to fight on Edward’s side. The Danes are defeated. Uhtred kills Aethelwold with Thyra’s blood on his sword, thus enabling Ragnar to pass to Valhalla.


Based on The Burning Land and Death of Kings

Series 4

No.Directed byWritten byOriginal release date
1Edward BazalgetteMartha HillierApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

In Bebbanburg, Lord Aelfric loses half his men in a battle with Vikings raiding from Scotland. Finan and Osferth, who have been spying on Aelfric, return to Coccham and tell Uhtred of the attacks. Uhtred plans to strike Bebbanburg before the Scots return and Aelfric has a chance to increases his depleted numbers. He asks Edward for support, but he refuses. Father Beocca and Uhtred’s son Young Uhtred, a cleric, are willing and unwilling accomplices, respectively. Haesten sees that Cnut is moving his men from East Anglia, presumes that they are going to Ireland, and tells Eardwulf who is now commander of Aethelred’s guard. Eardwulf informs Aethelfled, who sees this as an opportunity to conquer East Anglia. To increase his chances of success, he sends monks to Bebbanburg to buy St. Oswald’s heart, a holy relic, from Aelfric. Uhtred plans to use the monks as camouflage to gain entry to Bebbanburg. King Edward has started to increasingly depend on Aethelhelm, who tells him of Cnut’s move to Ireland. Edward wants the defences along the Wessex border to be increased nonetheless. In reality, Cnut and Brida are planning to invade Mercia, defeat Aethelred and Edward, and take over Mercia and Wessex.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
2Edward BazalgetteMartha HillierApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

Young Uhtred despises Uhtred’s heathen and unforgiving ways. Lady Aelswith informs King Edward that Aethelred’s goal of uniting all of the holy relics of St. Oswald means he intends to break with Wessex and attempt to restore Mercia to greatness. Lord Aethelhelm advises Edward to ignore her concerns. Aelfric decides to sell St. Oswald’s heart in order to raise money to hire men. Aethelred is pursuing Eadith, Eardwulf’s sister, thus far, in vain. Cnut and his army have arrived at Tetsworth in Mercia. Cnut sends his twin boys away with Haesten to keep them safe. Brida admits to Haeston that she is expecting Cnut’s child, but wants to keep the pregnancy secret until the battle with the Saxons is over. Although he had been banished and was presumed drowned, Aelfric’s son, Wihtgar returns to Bebbanburg with his own battle-tested men. Lady Aelswith visits Edward's first wife, Ecgwynn and her son and expresses remorse for her past behaviour. Uhtred arrives in Bebbanburg and enters the fortress under cover of darkness. Young Uhtred identifies himself to Aelfric and Uhtred prevents his murder. Uhtred offers to take over the men of Bebbanburg, but they decline due to their loyalty to Wihtgar. Wihtgar kills Aelfric.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
3Sarah O’GormanCharlotte WolfApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

Wihtgar shoots his crossbow to kill Young Uhtred. Beocca throws himself in from of the arrow, saves Young Uhtred and dies in the process. Uhtred and his men escape to their ship. Cnut has invaded Mercia, while Aethelred rampages through East Anglia. Cnut waits at Tameworthig for a battle with Edward, who is expected to defend Mercia in Aethelred’s absence. Edward wants to wait for Aethelred’s return before going to battle. Aethelflaed thinks that no time can be lost and leaves Wessex in secret to summon Mercian fyrds. Lady Aelswith promises her that if she amasses her forces at Tettenhall, she will ensure that Edward’s army will join her there. Aethelhelm advises Edward to sacrifice Mercia in order to rid himself of Aethelred. Aethelred is camped at Lena in East Anglia and is making progress claiming Viking-held land. Aethelred tells Eardwulf and his sister, Eadith, that he will pardon the disgrace of their family name if Eardwulf ensures that all of East Anglia is conquered. Uhtred is devastated by the loss of this oldest friend and of Bebbanburg. He encounters Haesten, who tells him that Cnut orchestrated Ragnar’s death, and of the invasion of Mercia. He kidnaps Cnuts’s twin boys.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
4Sarah O’GormanJamie CrichtonApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

Father Pyrlig is sent by Aelswith to Wales to ask for help from King Hywel. Uhtred has joined Aethelflaed in Aylesbury. The fortress is attacked by Cnut’s men who want to capture Aethelflaed. Uhtred threatens to kill one of Cnut’s sons. Cnut’s man, Bjorgulf, calls his bluff. Uhtred throws them the decapitated body of a dead child and they retreat. Uhtred lets Cnut’s sons go. Eardwulf realizes he must tell Aethelred of the Viking invasion of Mercia. Eadith sleeps with Aethelred to soften his reaction when he hears the news. Aethelred blames Eardwulf and promises revenge. Aethelhelm tells Edward of Aelswith’s subterfuge in sending Pyrlig to Wales. He confronts her and she tells him that his men will revile him if he lets Aethelflaed die. Bjorgulf, tells Cnut of his son’s death. Incensed, Cnut orders his men to march immediately to rescue his remaining son. The Mercian fyrd and the Welsh battle the Danes at Tettenhall. Aethelred’s army arrives to enter the fray. When all appears lost, Edward’s army determines the outcome. While Uhtred fights Cnut, Brida hears of his betrayal of Ragnar. She kills him. The Welsh take Brida prisoner. She asks Uhtred to kill her, but he refuses.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
5Andy MayMartha HillierApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

Aethelred is gravely ill from injuries sustained in the battle of Tettenhall. Eardwulf sees an opportunity in Aethelred’s imminent demise. Eadith would prefer if they simply abscond. Eardwulf refuses. Aethelflaed and Uhtred decide to travel to Aylesbury to address the Ealdormen about who is to be Aethelred’s successor. Aethelflaed asks Aethelred to find a suitable match for her daughter, Aelfwynn to ensure the succession of the crown. Edward arrives in Aylesbury with an army. He instructs Aethelhelm to have his mother publicly rebuked for raising King Hywel’s army, who then makes arrangements to have Aelswith imprisoned in Winchester. Aethelhelm tries to persuade Edward to assume control of Mercia. Edward considers betrothing Aelfwynn to Eardwulf. Aethelred tells Eardwulf he will never agree to this. Eardwulf kills Aethelred. Aethelflaed is outraged at Edward’s betrothal plans. Edward tells Eardwulf to confine Aethelflaed until the betrothal is finalised. Uhtred goes to Saltwic, where his daughter, Stiorra, Aethelflaed’s daughter, Aelfwynn, and Edward’s first son, Aethelstan, reside. He and his men plan to bring them to Ceaster to safety. Eadith helps Aethelflaed to flee. She asks Eadith to find Uhtred and to tell him to meet her at St Milburg’s priory in Wenloca.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
6Andy MayMartha HillierApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

Eadith finds Uhtred who turns back en route to Ceaster, to meet Aethelflaed. They encounter starving Saxons who are fleeing a plague. To avoid the sites of infection they decide to travel on foot to Wenloca. Aethelflaed waits with Aldhelm at Wenloca, but loses heart when Uhtred doesn’t turn up. Uhtred arrives at Wenloca to find that Aethelflaed has departed. Stiorra tells Young Uhtred that she feels more Danish than Saxon. The Ealdormen refuse to confirm Eardwulf’s betrothal to Aelfwynn. He defies Edward’s instructions and sets off with some Mercian men to search for the fugitives. Aelswith escapes from Winchester. At Aylesbury, Aethelhelm bars her entry to the fortress, the gates of which have been closed to peasants seeking shelter from the plague. Edward overrules the Ealdormen and opens the gates, thereby creating suspicion that he has designs to control Mercia. Brida is a slave in Wales. Her Welsh captors take great delight in torturing and humiliating her. Aelswith discovers that Edward imprisoned Aethelflaed and has sent men to hunt her and Aelfwynn. Eardwulf and Mercian soldiers track down Uhtred and his companions. When they try to capture Aelfwynn, Eadith tells them that Eardwulf murdered Aethelred. Eardwulf flees.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
7David MooreJamie CrichtonApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

While Aethelred is being interred in Aylesbury, Father Pyrlig helps Uhtred and his companions to enter the fortress. Uhtred enters the Witan that takes place after the funeral and tells the Ealdormen, and Edward, of Eardwulf’s treachery. Edward tells Uhtred he is a traitor and has him imprisoned. Lord Aethelhelm tortures Uhtred in a failed attempt to establish the whereabouts of Aelfwynn. Edward begins to understand that Aethelhelm is following his own agenda. He sets Uhtred free, dismisses Aethelhelm as an advisor and instructs Aethelhelm to return to Wessex. The Viking warlord, Sigtryggr, raids the Welsh settlements in search of Brida. She gives her Welsh captors a taste of their own medicine. Sigtryggr sends a welsh messenger to King Hywel at Holywell with the decapitated head of his brother. Edward sees how Uhtred instantly commands the trust of the Mercians. He decides to appoint him Lord and Protector of Mercia until the unrest in Mercia settles down and a young Ealdorman comes of age to be betrothed to Aelfwynn. Uhtred is given a deadline to decide if he will accept the offer. Aethelflaed learns of Edward’s plan.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
8David MoorePeter McKennaApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

The Witan approves Uhtred as Lord and Protector of Mercia. He accepts the appointment but as his first act relinquishes the throne in favour of Aethelflaed. Edward is incensed. Aethelflaed takes a vow of chastity to ensure that the crown will pass to the future spouse of Aelfwynn, an Ealderman. On this condition, the Witan approves her appointment as Queen of Mercia until such time as Aelfwynn marries. Edward orders his army to take control of Aylesbury. Uhtred leaves Finan to guard Aethelflaed and leaves with Osferth and Sihtric to recruit the help of the Mercian fyrd. Edward realizes he has been outplayed and withdraws his army. Edward and Aethelflaed from an alliance and resolve to send a joint army to the north to keep it under Saxon control. Young Uhtred decides to return to the monastery to pursue his life as a cleric. Brida leads raids on Welsh villages. She wants Sigtryggr to invade Wessex to take revenge on Edward and Uhtred for Tettenhall. King Hywel attempts to reclaim Deheubarth fortress at night. Sigtryggr is waiting and decimates the Welsh army. Brida captures Eardwulf. He tells them that Edward has left Winchester undefended. Sigtryggr decides to attack Winchester.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
9Edward BazalgetteMartha HillierApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

Aethelflaed is crowned Queen of Mercia. She leaves for Eoferwic with her army. The Danes take control of Winchester. Aelswith, Aethelhelm, Aelflaed and Edward’s children are imprisoned. Uhtred and his men accompany Aelswith to Bedwyn where she plans to raise Aethelstan. They are ambushed by Vikings led by Haesten, who capture Aelswith, Stiorra and Aethelstan. They suspend Uhtred, Osferth, Pyrlig, Finan and Uhtred by their feet from trees and leave guards to wait till they die. Eadith is hidden in the forest, unnoticed by the Danes. She succeeds in killing one of the guards and sets the captives free. Pyrlig is sent to inform Edward. Uhtred and his men set off on foot for Winchester. Eadith volunteers to enter the city to let Stiorra and the others know that Uhtred is near. Eardwulf tells Brida that Stiorra is Uhtred’s daughter. Brida wants to decapitate her, but Sigtryggr protects her. She teaches him about the Saxons and about Uhtred. Brida exhumes the bodies of deceased Saxons. Eardwulf assaults Stiorra and Sigtryggr has him killed. Haeston captures Eadith. Edward attacks Winchester even though the fortress cannot be breached.


Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne
10Edward BazalgetteMartha HillierApril 26, 2020 (2020-04-26)

After thirty days of siege, Edward has still failed in his attempts to enter Winchester. Edward is beside himself. Uhtred believes Sigtryggr will negotiate. Sigtryggr shows Edward his sons and offers him one of them if he retreats. Edward sinks into despair, incapable of making a choice. Uhtred offers himself in exchange for both children. Sigtryggr agrees. Brida wants to torture Uhtred but Sigtryggr prevents it. Uhtred and Sigtryggr discuss a strategy to build a truce. Aethelflaed has claimed Eoferwic and arrives at Winchester with her army. Edward decides to use smoke to conceal an attack on Winchester. His army breaches the door to the fortress. Uhtred stops the battle. Edward and Aethelflaed agree to give Sigtryggr Eoferwic. He asks for a captive to guarantee the truce and chooses Stiorra. She convinces Uhtred to let her go: she wants to be Sigtryggr’s companion and embrace her Danish heritage. Brida attacks Uhtred and tries to kill him. She fails, but vows to be his undoing; she later goes into labor. Aelswith unwittingly seals her own fate when she tells Aethelhelm that there is a plant in the courtyard, the flowers of which when dissolved in water are tasteless and poisonous. Edward assigns Aethelstan into Uhtred’s care.

Based on Bernard Cornwell's novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

The series started shooting in November 2014.[20][21] It is produced by Carnival Films for BBC Two and BBC America. Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation) is co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes.[22] For portrayals of the Vikings at sea, the Viking ship replica Havhingsten fra Glendalough was used.[citation needed] The series is filmed primarily in Hungary,[23] with most scenes at the eight acres near Budapest owned by Korda Studios[24] with its Medieval Village Set and surrounding mountains, forests and lakes.[25]

Filming for the second series began in Budapest in June 2016. Richard Rankin, Gerard Kearns,[26] Thure Lindhardt, Millie Brady, Erik Madsen,[16] and Peter McDonald will join the cast.[27] In August 2016, Aftonbladet reported that Swedish actors Björn Bengtsson[28] and Magnus Samuelsson[29] would join the main cast. Also that month, it was reported that Stephen Butchard would return as the sole script writer and that Netflix had signed on as an international co-production partner for the second series.[30][31][32][33][34]

In April 2018, Netflix confirmed that a third series was in production, based on the books The Lords of the North and Sword Song,[35] which would air exclusively on the streaming service, and Bernard Cornwell indicated that he had been offered a cameo appearance.[36] Swedish actor Ola Rapace joined the cast for series 3, as Jarl Harald Bloodhair.[37][38] Swedish director Erik Leijonborg was behind the camera for series 3, he has collaborated with Rapace on several Swedish TV-series.[39]

On 26 December 2018, the series was renewed for a fourth series by Netflix.[40][41]

On 7 July 2020, the series was renewed for a fifth series by Netflix.[42]

Historical backgroundEdit

The main events of the reign of Alfred the Great and his heirs are well recorded, and a number of men called Uhtred ruled from Bamburgh Castle,[43] most notably Uhtred the Bold more than a century later.[44] The people identified as "Danes" came from many places in and around Denmark, including Southern Sweden and Norway. Historians believe that the Danish invaders of Northumbria came from Jutland in Denmark, as mentioned in Cornwell's books, as well as some of the Danish islands and East Denmark (southern Sweden).

ReleaseEdit

The Last Kingdom premiered on 10 October 2015 in the United States on BBC America,[45] and was broadcast shortly after in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 22 October 2015.[46] It became available online in the United States via Netflix on 6 July 2016.[47] It was added to Netflix on 28 December 2015 in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.[48][49] The first series was broadcast in the Spanish region of Catalonia on TV3 on 24 July 2017.[50]

The second and third series were released on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Japan, Australia, and Portugal.[51][52]

ReceptionEdit

The series has been met with a positive critical response. On Rotten Tomatoes, series 1 has a 87% approval based on reviews from 31 critics, with an average of 7.61/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Last Kingdom fuses beautiful cinematography and magnificent action sequences to create highly gratifying historical drama."[53] On Metacritic, series 1 has a score of 78/100 based on 15 reviews.[54] The second and the third series received 86% and 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.[55][56]

Sam Wollaston reviewed the first episode in The Guardian and warned, "It's wise not to get too attached to anyone in The Last Kingdom."[57] Charlotte Runcie gave the opening episode 4 stars out of 5 in The Daily Telegraph. Wollaston and Runcie both remarked on the similarities between Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones.[58]

Sean O'Grady in The Independent found that some of the language gave the series "a satisfyingly earthy quality," but he thought that the plot was "a little convoluted".[59] The television reviewer for Private Eye was more critical, arguing that The Last Kingdom demonstrates how Game of Thrones "haunts the BBC", and that the series was directly derivative of both fantasy series and European dramas such as The Killing and Wallander, yet lacking the features that have made such series successful.[60]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kanter, Jake; Kanter, Jake (7 July 2020). "'The Last Kingdom renewed for season 5 at Netflix". Netflix Junkie. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  2. ^ Stenton, Frank (2001). Ango-Saxon England (3rd Edition). Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 390, 418–19, 509. ISBN 978-0192801395.
  3. ^ Cornwell, Bernard (2005). The Last Kingdom. New York, USA: Harper Collins. pp. End piece. ISBN 978-0060530518.
  4. ^ Laura Prudom (9 July 2014). "'The Last Kingdom': BBC, Carnival Producing New Viking Drama". Variety. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  5. ^ "The Last Kingdom, Episode 1". patriciabracewell.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  6. ^ "The Last Kingdom Series 2". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  7. ^ "The Last Kingdom season 3, review: a rise in blood and gore after move to Netflix". iNews. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  8. ^ "The Last Kingdom, Series 3, Netflix review - idylls of the king". The Arts Desk. 23 November 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "The Last Kingdom begins shooting series two". 9 June 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Episode 1, Series 2, The Last Kingdom - BBC Two". BBC.
  12. ^ "Starke Magnus till "The last kingdom" - DN.SE". 14 July 2016.
  13. ^ ""The Last Kingdom" Episode #2.4 (TV Episode 2017)" – via www.imdb.com.
  14. ^ Rissmann, Marc. "Blues Vikings on the Set of @TheLastKingdom Season2 @emycox @netflix #thelastkingdom #netflix #brida #tekilpic.twitter.com/HPJIU5Jxqv".
  15. ^ "Christopher Sciueref". IMDb.
  16. ^ a b "Erik Madsen - United Agents". www.unitedagents.co.uk.
  17. ^ ParentHerald (30 July 2016). "'The Last Kingdom' Season 2 Spoilers: Sneak Peek From The Set (Photos)".
  18. ^ "Episode #2.1". 5 May 2017 – via www.imdb.com.
  19. ^ "Tibor Milos Krisko". IMDb.
  20. ^ "BBC Two, BBC America and the Golden Globe® and Emmy® award-winning producers of Downton Abbey, Carnival Films, have announced that filming has begun on The Last Kingdom". BBC Media Centre. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Persbrandt tvingas tacka nej till storroll" [Persbrandt forced to turn down big role]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 11 November 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  22. ^ "BBC Two announces new drama series, The Last Kingdom". BBC Media Centre. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  23. ^ Debnath, Neela (4 April 2018). "The Last Kingdom season 3 location: Where is The Last Kingdom filmed? Where is it set?". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Where is The Last Kingdom filmed?". Radio Times. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  25. ^ "BBC's Game of Thrones competitor, The Last Kingdom, filmed in the UK and Hungary". Radio Times. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Gerard Kearns - United Agents". www.unitedagents.co.uk.
  27. ^ "The Last Kingdom begins shooting series two with Richard Rankin joining the cast". digitalspy.com. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Svensken får ny stor roll i vikingaserien". Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  29. ^ "This just in: Magnus Samuelsson klar för "The last kingdom" – Nöjesbladets TV-koll". 14 July 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  30. ^ "Netflix to co-produce season two of the last kingdom". worldscreen.com. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  31. ^ "The Last Kingdom Renewed For Season 2 By BBC & BBC America!". RenewCancelTV.com. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  32. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (9 June 2016). "Netflix Joins 'The Last Kingdom' As Co-Producer of Historical Epic's Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  33. ^ "The Last Kingdom". www.facebook.com.
  34. ^ "Home". The Last Kingdom.
  35. ^ Debnath, Neela (16 March 2017). "The Last Kingdom: Alexander Dreymon reveals 'horrible experience' on set during filming". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  36. ^ Debniath, Neela (26 October 2018). "The Last Kingdom season 3 Netflix release date, cast, plot, trailer". Daily Express. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
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