CBS Studios is backing new eight-part historical drama series King and Conqueror starring James Norton (Little Women, Mr. Jones, Happy Valley) as Harold, Earl of Wessex and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones, Mama, Oblivion) as William, Duke of Normandy.

Written by Michael Robert Johnson (Sherlock Holmes, The Frankenstein Chronicles) and with the opening episode directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Trapped, Everest, Adrift), King and Conqueror will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

James Norton will also executive produce through his production company, Rabbit Track Pictures and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau will direct an episode and also serves as executive producer. Filming is set to take place in Iceland next year. The series is produced by TDP Development Partnership, Rabbit Track Pictures, Shepherd Content and CBS Studios in association with the BBC. Icelandic production services will be provided by RVK Studios.

King and Conqueror is the story of a clash that defined the future of a country – and a continent – for a thousand years, the roots of which stretch back decades and extend out through a pair of interconnected family dynasties, struggling for power across two countries and a raging sea. Harold of Wessex and William of Normandy were two men destined to meet at the Battle of Hastings in 1066; two allies with no design on the British throne, who found themselves forced by circumstance and personal obsession into a war for possession of its crown.

Lindsey Martin, Sr. Vice President, International Co-Productions & Development, CBS Studios, says: “We are thrilled to partner with James, Nikolaj, Baltasar, and the entire creative team on King and Conqueror, a truly groundbreaking series with world class talent and global reach. Michael’s scripts offer a bold and fresh take on a story that has endured for nearly 1,000 years, and yet, the themes are as contemporary and relevant as ever. We are incredibly proud of what the team has achieved so far and can’t wait to see it all come to fruition on screen with our star-studded cast.”

Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, says: “In the UK we learn about William the Conqueror, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s gruesome death in our school history lessons – but those headlines are all most of us can remember. King and Conqueror will bring Harold and William to life, depicting their lives, loves and families, and the gripping, high stakes power game that led to their fateful meeting in 1066. With incredible talent both in front of and behind the camera, I cannot wait for this exciting project to be realised.”

The 8×60’ series is created and executive produced by Michael Robert Johnson and executive produced by Norton and Kitty Kaletsky for Rabbit Track Pictures (Rogue Agent), Robert Taylor for TDP Development Partnership (Rogue Agent, Close to Me), Dave Clarke and Richard Halliwell for Shepherd Content, Ed Clarke (The Electrical Life of Louis Wain), Robert Jones, Coster-Waldau, Baltasar Kormákur and CBS Studios’ Lindsey Martin. Kormákur will direct the premiere episode and, as executive producer, will steer the creative across the series.

The BBC has acquired broadcasting rights for the series in the United Kingdom and it will be distributed outside of the UK by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

Pippa Considine

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