ITV is continuing their recent commissioning spree.
Mere weeks after green-lighting 10 part series Jekyll & Hyde from novelist Charlie Higson and picking up a second season of their James Norton fronted period drama Grantchester, the channel has ordered Beowulf – a 13 episode series which is described as “an epic re-imagining” of the well known work of literature.
Set in the mythical Shieldlands, a place of danger populated by both humans and fantastical creatures, Beowulf follows the eponymous character who, after spending many years wandering as a mercenary warrior, returns to Herot to pay his respects to the recently deceased Hrothgar. But when Herot is attacked by the terrifying monster Grendl, Beowulf has no choice but to hunt it down, winning favour with Herot’s new female Thane, and the wider community, in the process.
James Dormer, who has written extensively for the Sky1/Cinemax co-production Strike Back, will pen the scripts and serve as an executive producer alongside Tim Haines and Katie Newman; while Stephen Smallwood will serve as the series producer. ITV’s sister company ITV Studios is producing, with their global sales divisions (ITV Studios Global Entertainment) handling international sales. Casting is currently underway, with production expected to commence in the North East in April.
“Hundreds of years ago our ancestors listened to the story of Beowulf because it was a great adventure story – it scared them, thrilled them, made them laugh and cry”, said writer and executive producer James Dormer. “But they also listened because they recognised themselves and their fears in it. By holding a mirror up to them this story helped define them and thus – us. So it’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to make it relevant again for a wide audience – to let them own it again. To let them see themselves in it.”
“Beowulf is a series with a charismatic protagonist at its heart”, added ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the ambitious period drama alongside ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “Equally it’s a spirited and fascinating ensemble drama with each character taking their own emotional and sometimes perilous journey. We’re delighted to be commissioning Beowulf and to be working with Tim Haines and his production team”.