The BBC has decided not to continue with its Saxon-era historical drama The Last Kingdom, based on author Bernard Cornwell's Saxon saga which currently runs to ten novels. However, Netflix have stepped in and will continue the series, with the third season due to air later this year.
The first season of The Last Kingdom was a co-production between the BBC and BBC America, but BBC America dropped out after the first season, citing disappointing ratings in the US, although UK ratings were strong. Netflix took over as international distributor and co-funder of the series. The BBC has decided not to continue the series, so Netflix have taken over production completely.
The news does make sense, as The Last Kingdom has received good critical notices since debuting. In addition The Last Kingdom gives Netflix a toehold in the historical drama field without the monstrous price tag of some of their other shows, like The Crown and the cancelled Marco Polo. By Netflix standards, The Last Kingdom's budget is very modest and even with a moderate budget increase (which would be helpful to sell some of the bigger action scenes) it would still be one of their cheapest programmes.
Season 3 of The Last Kingdom will air before the end of 2018, with Netflix to make a decision on continuing the programme based on how it fares as a Netflix original.
Slightly paradoxically, the BBC have cited competition from Netflix and Amazon TV as reason why they can't continue production of drama programmes like The Last Kingdom, and have even advised that in the future, predicted budget shortfalls for British broadcasters may threaten shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock.