BBC Two has locked down the core cast for The Last Kingdom.
American Horror Story alum Alexander Dreymon and Ripper Street‘s David Dawson are to lead the cast of the 8 episode series, which is being co-produced by BBC America and has been described a the UK’s attempt at Game of Thrones.
The Last Kingdom is set in the year 872 when many of the separate kingdoms of England have fallen to the invading Vikings, with only the great kingdom of Wessex left standing and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great. The drama follows Uhtred, the son of a Saxon nobleman who is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. He finds his loyalties tested and must choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing.
Alexander Dreymon plays series lead Uthred; while David Dawson has been cast as King Alfred the Great. Rounding out the cast is Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Emily Cox (Circle of Life), Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street), Ian Hart (The Bridge), Tobias Santelmann (Kon-Tiki), Thomas W. Gabrielsson (A Royal Affair), Peter Gantzler, Joseph Millson 24:Live Another Day), Alexandre Willaume (Over the Edge), Rune Temte (The Accident) and Henning Valin Jakobsen (The Killing).
The series is based on Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling franchise The Saxon Stories, which was adapted for television by Good Cop scribe Stephen Butchard. Downton Abbey producers Carnival Films are producing The Last Kingdom, which the BBC said would combine real historical figures and events with fictional characters. Chrissy Skinns is set to produce, while Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant and Stephen Butchard are the executive producers. Prey helmer Nick Murphy is attached to direct multiple episodes.
“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” said Executive Producer Gareth Neame. “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. Our cast has been drawn together from eight different European countries, providing us with the unique opportunity to create a truly international show, tap into a rich seam of talent and bring them to a new global audience.”