ITV has announced the commission of Beowulf, an “epic re-imagining of one of literature’s greatest and most enduring heroes”.
Described as “a western set in the Dark Ages of Britain’s mythic past”, the new 13-part drama is created by James Dormer (Strike Back), Tim Haines and Katie Newman.
Dormer, who will write and executive produce the series, commented: “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. 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.”
ITV’s Director of Drama, Steve November added: “Beowulf is a series with a charismatic protagonist at its heart. 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.”
Featuring “epic fights, thrilling chases, raids, celebrations and battles”, filming will begin on location in County Durham and Northumberland in April 2015.
The first episode sees Beowulf, after spending many years wandering as a mercenary warrior, return to Herot to pay his respects to the recently deceased Thane, Hrothgar – the man who raised him. 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. And so begins a personal journey that sees this mighty and capable man slowly reconnect with the notion of family and home.
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