BBC just announced that the network is planning to adapt “The Last Kingdom” to a television series. It is the first book from the “Saxon Stories” series written by historical novelist Bernard Cornwell. Read on to find more about developments on “The Last Kingdom” series from BBC.
The upcoming eight-part historical series will be adapted by Stephen Butchard (“Good Cop”, “Five Daughters”, “House of Saddam”). It will be produced by Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant and Stephen Butchard in association with “Downton Abbey” producer Carnival Films. Nick Murphy (“Prey”) will join as executive and director for multiple episodes. It was also reported that production will start in fall while there’s still no updates on the cast members for the upcoming series.
“I hope The Last Kingdom will expand BBC Two’s distinctive portfolio of drama. It’s an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact,” said BBC’s Controller of Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson in the Deadline article.
“The Last Kingdom,” which was published in 2004, is the first novel in the bestselling “The Saxon Stories” historical book series written by Bernard Cornwell. It was followed by several more novels including “The Pale Horseman” (2005), “The Lords of the North” (2006), “Sword Song” (2007), “The Burning Land” (2009), “Death of Kings” (2011) and “The Pagan Lord” (September 2013). The latest “Saxon Stories” novel entitled “The Empty Throne” is expected to hit book stores in October 2014.
The story of “The Last Kingdom” centers on the story of the historical battle between Anglo-Saxons and Vikings during the ninth century. It was said that it happened during the reign of King Alfred in England. It follows the journey of Osbert, who was given the name Uhtred by his father as an act of revenge to those who killed Osbert’s brother. Unfortunately, his father was also killed in the battle. He was destined to ascend the throne, but his uncle, Ælfric, took his place as the Ealdorman instead. It was after he was kidnapped by a Danish warlord named Earl Ragnar the Fearless. He was then brought up as a foster sibling for Ragnar’s children: Ragnar the Younger, Rorik and Thyra.
An incomparable act of bravery made him join the ranks of King Alfred the Great. He is determined on avenging the deaths of his loved ones from the hands of the Danes. Later, a new Uhtred Rangnarson returns to his homeland in order to take the things that were his by blood and birthright.
For the fans of “Game of Thrones,” the series may share similarities with the BBC series. However, it was confirmed by the producers that “The Last Kingdom” is not a spinoff of the HBO series.
“Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way. 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,” said Graeme in the Deadline article.
On the other hand, BBC America SVP for Programming Richard De Croce expressed his excitement to work with BBC Two and Carnival Films. He also praised the production company for “knowing how to create a hit for the US.”
This is not the first time that one of Bernard Cornwell’s literary works was adapted into a TV series. He was also known for his work on the “Sharpe” novels. BBC America also produced the TV adaptation of “Sharpe” starring Sean Bean, who also starred in “Game of Thrones.” Bean starred in the series as Richard Sharpe, an English soldier during the Napoleonic war. It was aired from 1993 until 2008.
And that’s it for the latest scoop on BBC’s “The Last Kingdom.” Don’t forget to check out a book trailer for Bernard Cornwell’s “Death of Kings” novel from Harper Fiction. Stay tuned here on Movie News Guide (MNG) regularly for more news about your favorite TV series, upcoming movies and Hollywood celebrities.