|The Last Kingdom|
|Based on||The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell|
|Developed by||Stephen Butchard|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||46 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Stephen Butchard|
|Production locations||Hungary, Wales|
|Running time||50–59 minutes|
|Production company||Carnival Film and Television|
|Original release||10 October 2015 –|
March 9, 2022
|Followed by||Seven Kings Must Die|
The Last Kingdom is a British historical fiction television series based on Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories series of novels. The series was developed for television by Stephen Butchard, premiering on the 10 October 2015 on the BBC. In 2018 the show was acquired by Netflix. The series lasted for a total of five seasons, with the final season airing on 9 March 2022. A feature-length sequel, titled Seven Kings Must Die, has been filmed for Netflix.
The first series roughly covers the events of The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman, the first and second novels in Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories, however they are condensed for the screen. In the year 866, the Great Heathen Army's arrival in Britain is about to redefine the relationship between Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. Following the establishment of Danish rule in Jórvík and East Anglia, the show largely focuses on the resistance of the Kingdom of Wessex to ongoing Viking incursions to Southern England.
The first season covers the years 866–78. The main protagonist (named Osbert in childhood) is re-baptized as Uhtred after his elder brother Uhtred is killed by the Danes; his father, along with other Saxon noblemen of Northumbria, are killed in battle against the Danes. Only his uncle and stepmother survive. Uhtred and a Saxon girl named Brida are taken as slaves by Earl Ragnar to his home in Danish Northumbria. Ragnar comes to accept Uhtred as his own son, adopts him, and raises him as Uhtred Ragnarsson. Time passes, and Ragnar's daughter Thyra is about to be married, but fellow Danes attack the night before the wedding and set fire to the hall in which the family is sleeping. Ragnar is burned alive, and Thyra taken as a slave. Only Uhtred and Brida escape as they have spent the night in the woods tending a charcoal kiln. The attackers are led by Kjartan, a disgruntled Viking who had been banished by Ragnar from his lands years earlier for an offence committed by Kjartan's son Sven. Uhtred vows to avenge his father Ragnar's death, while simultaneously hoping to reclaim Bebbanburg his birthright from his uncle, who seeks to kill Uhtred to keep Bebbanburg for himself. Uhtred is forced to choose between the kingdom of his ancestors and the people who have raised him, and his loyalties are constantly tested.
The second series roughly covers the happenings of Cornwell's third and fourth novels The Lords of the North and Sword Song. The second season covers the years 878 to 886, and shows Uhtred quests in Northumbria, and Wessex and Mercia conflict with the brothers Sigefrid and Eric.
This was the final season to air on the BBC, before moving to Netflix.
Beginning with the third series, the show was solely produced by Netflix. The third series is based on Cornwell’s fifth and sixth novels The Burning Land and Death of Kings, however there are considerable plot changes compared to the previous seasons. The third season roughly covers the years 893 to 900.
These episodes cover the decline in King Alfred's health and the continuing conflict between the Christians and Danes. One reviewer indicated that Netflix had a positive effect on the series indicating: "With it came a certain increase in production values, most notably during the epic end-of-episode clash in which the swing of every sword and thwock of every shield hit firmly home," but added that "the blood-and-gore budget has also undergone a significant increase, thanks in large part to the arrival of the beautiful but psychotic Skade (Thea Sofie Loch Næss)".
All ten episodes of series three appeared on Netflix on 19 November 2018.
The fourth series is based on Cornwell’s seventh and eighth novels The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne. Similar to series three, there are significant plot changes from the novels. The fourth season takes place around 901 to 912 and deals with Danish attacks and political struggles in Mercia and attacks on Winchester.
All ten episodes of series 4 appeared on Netflix on 26 April 2020.
The fifth season was announced as the final season in 2021. It is based on Cornwell’s ninth and tenth novels Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer. Similar to series three and four, there are significant plot changes from the novels.
All ten episodes of the final series appeared on Netflix on 9 March 2022.
|David Dawson||King Alfred||Main|
|Tobias Santelmann||Ragnar the Younger||Main|
|Thomas W. Gabrielsson||Guthrum||Main|
|Simon Kunz||Odda the Elder||Main|
|Brian Vernel||Odda the Younger||Main|
|Ian Hart||Father Beocca||Main|
|David Schofield||Abbot Eadred||Main|
|Peter McDonald||Brother Trew||Main|
|Ole Christoffer Ertvaag||Sven||Recurring||Main|
|Cavan Clerkin||Father Pyrlig||Main|
|Jeppe Beck Laursen||Haesten||Main|
|Thea Sofie Loch Næss||Skade||Main|
|Ola Rapace||Earl Sigurd "Bloodhair"||Main|
|Kevin Eldon||Bishop Erkenwald||Main|
|Finn Elliot||Young Uhtred||Main|
|Steffan Rhodri||King Hywel Dda||Main|
|Patrick Robinson||Father Benedict||Main|
|Rod Hallett||King Constantin||Main|
Introduced in Series 1
Introduced in Series 2
Introduced in Series 3
Introduced in Series 4
Introduced in Series 5
Main article: List of The Last Kingdom episodes
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||8||10 October 2015||28 November 2015||BBC Two|
|2||8||16 March 2017||4 May 2017|
|3||10||19 November 2018||Netflix|
|4||10||26 April 2020|
|5||10||9 March 2022|
The series started shooting in November 2014. It is produced by Carnival Films for BBC Two and BBC America. Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation) is co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes. For portrayals of the Vikings at sea, the Viking ship replica Havhingsten fra Glendalough was used. The series is filmed primarily in Hungary, with most scenes at the eight acres near Budapest owned by Korda Studios with its Medieval Village Set and surrounding mountains, forests and lakes.
Filming for the second series began in Budapest in June 2016. Richard Rankin, Gerard Kearns, Thure Lindhardt, Millie Brady, Erik Madsen, and Peter McDonald joined the cast. In August 2016, Aftonbladet reported that Swedish actors Björn Bengtsson and Magnus Samuelsson would join the main cast. Also that month, it was reported that Stephen Butchard would return as the sole script writer and that Netflix had signed on as an international co-production partner for the second series.
In April 2018, Netflix confirmed that a third series was in production, based on the books The Lords of the North and Sword Song, which would air exclusively on the streaming service, and Bernard Cornwell indicated that he had been offered a cameo appearance. Swedish actor Ola Rapace joined the cast for series 3, as Jarl Harald Bloodhair. Swedish director Erik Leijonborg was behind the camera for series 3; he has collaborated with Rapace on several Swedish TV series.
On 26 December 2018, the series was renewed for a fourth series by Netflix. On 7 July 2020, the series was renewed for a fifth series by Netflix. On 30 April 2021, it was announced that the series would conclude with the fifth series. Filming for season 5 wrapped in June 2021.
The final season will be followed by a feature-length film titled Seven Kings Must Die, whose filming finished on 19 March 2022.
The main events of the reign of Alfred the Great and his heirs are well recorded, and a number of men called Uhtred ruled from Bamburgh Castle, most notably Uhtred the Bold more than a century later. The people identified as "Danes" came from many places in and around Denmark, including Southern Sweden and Norway. Historians believe that the Danish invaders of Northumbria came from Jutland in Denmark, as mentioned in Cornwell's books, as well as some of the Danish islands and East Denmark (southern Sweden).
The first series of eight episodes premiered on 10 October 2015 in the United States on BBC America, and was broadcast shortly after in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 22 October 2015. It became available online in the United States via Netflix on 6 July 2016. It was added to Netflix on 28 December 2015 in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The first series was broadcast in the Spanish region of Catalonia on TV3 on 24 July 2017.
The second and third series were released on Netflix in the US, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Japan, Australia, and Portugal.
Netflix was the sole distributor of the third series of ten episodes, produced by Carnival Films. On 26 December 2018, Netflix renewed the show for a fourth series, released on 26 April 2020 and once again produced by Carnival Films. It was renewed for a fifth and final season on 7 July 2020. On 9 February 2022, it was announced that the fifth season would be released on 9 March 2022.
The series has been met with a positive critical response. On Rotten Tomatoes, series one has an 87% approval rating based on reviews from 31 critics, with an average of 7.61/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Last Kingdom fuses beautiful cinematography and magnificent action sequences to create highly gratifying historical drama". On Metacritic, series 1 has a score of 78/100 based on 15 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second series received 86% (7 reviews) and the third series received 100% (7 reviews).
Sam Wollaston reviewed the first episode in The Guardian and warned, "It's wise not to get too attached to anyone in The Last Kingdom". Charlotte Runcie gave the opening episode four out of five in The Daily Telegraph, writing that the series had "satisfyingly high production values, a bloodthirsty appetite for violence and a proper cliffhanger." Wollaston and Runcie both remarked on the similarities between The Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones. Kari Croop of Common Sense Media also gave the series 4/5 stars, writing: "With high production values, strong writing, and compelling characters, this series rivals some of the best and bloodiest epics on TV". Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the first season a grade of B+, writing: "BBC America’s sprawling, arresting eight-part historical miniseries The Last Kingdom proves that there’s room enough on television for more than one Viking invasion."
Sean O'Grady in The Independent found that some of the language gave the series "a satisfyingly earthy quality", but he thought that the plot was "a little convoluted". The television reviewer for Private Eye was more critical, arguing that The Last Kingdom demonstrates how Game of Thrones "haunts the BBC", and that the series was directly derivative of both fantasy series and European dramas such as The Killing and Wallander, yet lacking the features that have made such series successful.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)