Bad Wolf Productions have finally pulled the trigger on their long, long-gestating Warlord Chronicles TV series.
Based on the historical-with-a-hint-of-fantasy trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, the series is a "realistic" take on the legend of Arthur, recasting Arthur as a post-Roman mercenary commander or warlord who has to rule as regent of the kingdom of Dumnonia for the young Prince Mordred, and how he deals in a politically complex world divided between the remnants of the Romans (particularly the cult of Mithras), the native Britons and the invading Saxons. The series is notable for its attempts to be historically accurate to 5th and 6th Century Britain, particular when it comes to military, religious and political concerns.
The trilogy consists of the novels The Winter King (1995), Enemy of God (1996) and Excalibur (1997), and is consistently Cornwell's most acclaimed series, helped by its conciseness (his Sharpe and Last Kingdom series, both previously adapted to television, are better-known but considerably longer) and its revisionist take on familiar characters, with Guinevere as a fierce warrior-queen of another tribe and Merlin as a priest whose magical powers are more claimed than demonstrable.
The 10-part first season, which will adapt The Winter King, will debut on the streaming platform ITVX in the UK. Bad Wolf Productions are currently looking for an international streaming/distribution partner. They have good relations with HBO and the BBC, with whom they produced His Dark Materials (which returns for a third and final season this year). Kate Brooke and Ed Whitmore are writing, whilst Otto Bathurst will direct.
Bad Wolf originally optioned the series in 2015, at the same time as His Dark Materials, but wanted to complete work on that show before moving to a new project.
Bad Wolf are also producing Doctor Who for the BBC, with Russell T. Davies in charge. Production appears to be complete or almost so on a series of three specials due to air in 2023 for the show's 60th anniversary, which will see David Tennant reprise his role as the Doctor, and they are about to start production on the fourteenth series, which will see Ncuti Gatwa take on the role.
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