BBC America has released its official trailer for “The Last Kingdom,” its eight-part tale set at the birth of England in the ninth century.
“I shall take what is mine,” says the main character, a young warrior named Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) seeking to avenge the death of his surrogate family and reclaim the lands stolen from him.
Uhtred’s mission leads him to play a part in Saxon King Alfred’s quest to unite rival kingdoms into what will become England. Adapted by Stephen Butchard from Bernard Cornwell’s “The Saxon Stories,” “The Last Kingdom” combines real historical figures and events with fiction.
“The Last Kingdom” premieres 9 p.m. Oct. 10 on BBC America.
Fans of History Channel’s “Vikings” are sure to recognize some names, although most of those characters will not be as you’ve seen them in the History Channel series.
Below is BBC America’s synopsis of the series:
Eleven-year-old Uhtred was born a Saxon in 9th century Northumbria. He watches from a cliff top as invading Danish ships move toward his home, not knowing that his future will soon be turned upside-down. Young Uhtred witnesses his father killed and the Saxon army defeated. That same day he is taken by the Danish warlord, Earl Ragnar. His fellow captive is a feisty, sharp-tongued girl named Brida. The orphans are brought up in the Danish camp.
Fast forward and the two have formed a close personal bond as kindred spirits and lovers. Uhtred is now a valiant young man and warrior. But it isn’t long before he’s forced to endure yet another painful and disorienting twist of fate when a group of Danes set his home ablaze—murdering his surrogate family (including Ragnar, who Uhtred saw as his true father). A bloody feud between rival Danes ensues. Caught in the middle, Uhtred finds himself exiled—neither Saxon nor Dane—alone in the world with only his fellow outcast, Brida (Emily Cox). Meanwhile, his inheritance and lands in Northumbria are taken by his scheming uncle, Aelfric. Enraged, Uhtred swears to avenge Ragnar and to reclaim his homeland. But his loyalties are tested as circumstances force him to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing. Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, recapture his ancestral lands.
“The Last Kingdom” isn’t the only period drama sporting swords this fall. FX premieres Kurt Sutter’s “The Bastard Executioner,” set in 14th century Wales, at 9 pm. Sept. 15. Click the link to read more about TBX.
And here’s some info on the characters in “The Last Kingdom” courtesy of BBC America.
Born of Saxon nobility but raised a Dane, Uhtred grows up with a conflicted identity. A natural warrior, Uhtred is a leader of men, fearless, instinctive and driven by a deep-seated need to reclaim his homeland of Bebbanburg, Northumbria. Quick-witted, impetuous with a taste for danger, he follows his gut and abhors the prayer, fasting and obedience so precious to King Alfred. Like a Dane he believes life should be lived passionately and fully. He has charm, energy, charisma and an underlying sense of justice—qualities which make him very attractive to women. But his impulsiveness and irreverence sometimes land him in trouble.
Brida is captured as a child with Uhtred and raised by Danes. Brida and Uhtred’s similar fates bind them as kindred spirits; the two become best friends and lovers. Fearless, gutsy, outspoken and a born fighter, Brida feels at home in the boisterous world of the Danes.
The most senior ranking Dane, Ubba is a mountain of a man—loud, brash, violent, playful and a little unhinged. A ferocious warrior, Uhtred is warned as a boy never to fight Ubba, but fate dictates he must. Ubba’s weakness is his superstition and reliance on his sorcerer Storri. That may just prove his undoing.
Uhtred’s father, Lord Uhtred, is a formidable fighter and leader of men. He rules the kingdom of Bebbanburg in Northumbria. He is a serious and rather distant man whose commitments to Bebbanburg leave little time for his two sons. Young Uhtred struggles to win his father’s affection and approval.
Earl Ragnar’s elderly father, Ravn, is a skald—a Viking poet and wise man. Given his considerable life experience, he is philosophical about the struggles of the Danes and is able to impart his wisdom to young Uhtred, who often acts as the eyes of blind Ravn.
Aelfric is Uhtred’s uncle and usurper of the throne of Bebbanburg. Aelfric is unscrupulous, scheming and power hungry. He sees Uhtred as a barrier to his claim on Bebbanburg and is committed to his demise.
As the King who dreamt of uniting the separate kingdoms of England, Alfred has integrity and true gravitas. Where Uhtred is gallant and daring, Alfred is a thinker and master strategist. Yet he is troubled by poor health. A man of great wisdom, he is committed to the power of the written word and the spread of Christianity. The responsibilities of leadership rest heavily on Alfred’s shoulders. His faith and inner strength are forever tested by his habitual infidelities. Despite these vulnerabilities he remains determined. Even Uhtred, who first sees Alfred as a humorless nit-picker, grows to admire the man who will become known as King Alfred the Great.
Uhtred’s Saxon father’s priest, Beocca, goes on to become Alfred’s most trusted advisor. He has seen Uhtred grow from boy to man and knows his true birthright. Devout, but with a wry sense of humor, Beocca is clever and tactical. Alfred greatly values his opinions. Ever hopeful of turning stubborn Uhtred from his pagan ways, Beocca maintains a strong paternal affection for his wayward former charge.
A formidable and infamous Danish warlord, Earl Ragnar is fearless, charming and a natural leader. He’s also a warm-hearted family man who is devoted to his son, Ragnar the Younger. He doesn’t hesitate to also take Uhtred under his wing, seeing spark and courage in the Saxon boy. Uhtred sees Ragnar as his true father.
Ragnar The Younger
Uhtred’s Danish brother Ragnar the Younger is every inch his father’s son—handsome, brave, loyal and fair. Ragnar embodies the Viking way of life for Uhtred—freedom, passion, challenge and adventure—a world away from the strictures of Alfred’s court.