The BBC is taking on the success of bloodthirsty fantasy show Game of Thrones with its own “epic” series about the ninth century wars between the Anglo-Saxons and Viking invaders.
The Last Kingdom, an eight-part series inspired by a series of novels by Bernard Cornwell, starts filming in the autumn.
It is made by Carnival Films, who produced Downton Abbey, and tells the story of the son of a Saxon nobleman who is kidnapped by Vikings and raised as one of their own before returning to England to fight against them.
BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson said: “It’s an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact.”