Two of the biggest companies in TV have teamed up to produce a new drama series. Sky and Amazon are co-producing Britannia, a star-studded drama set during the Roman invasion of Britannia. Hence the name.
Britannia is being written by Jez Butterworth, the scribe behind Jerusalem and Spectre. Set during 43AD Britain, it recounts how the Roman army returns to crush the Celtic hold-outs in the country. Faced with wild warrior women, and powerful druids who can control the forces of the underworld, the terrified Romans must hold their nerve if they are to complete their conquest.
The show has amassed one heck of a cast, including Kelly Reilly (True Detective, the Sherlock Holmes movies), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, The Hollow Crown and Doctor Who), Zoe Wanamaker (My Family, Harry Potter) and Stanley Weber (Outlander).
Jez Butterworth explained his approach to the show: "Besides being hard, hard warriors, the Celts have a belief system which makes them almost invincible," he said, "It's a deep, heavy magic. Last time the Romans tried to invade, the mighty Julius Caesar took one look, turned round and went straight home. Now, almost a century later, the Romans are back.
I'm fascinated in what happens when gods die. When an entire, ancient faith stalls, topples, collapses - and a whole new one grows in its place. New names, new faces, to suit the new times. Here we have a war between two pantheons - the Roman gods v the Celtic gods. It's the Heavyweight Clash of All Time, the one which most shapes who we are today. And we see it all from a human perspective, of individual survival, ambition, courage, lust, loss, revenge. All the stuff the gods have always loved us humans for the most!"
Kelly Reilly also seems pleased to be working on the show: "I am thrilled to be joining the production of Britannia, a story rooted in the heart of our ancient history. Collaborating with great creative minds is what I love most about my job, and having one of Britain's leading playwrights, Jez Butterworth, come on board to bring Celtic Britain alive has made this a fiercely exciting project. The vision is big and bold and beautiful, and I can't wait to get my hands dirty."
David Morrissey was amusingly pragmatic, adding: "I just hope I get a nice horse!"
Britannia will arrive on Sky 1 in the UK and Ireland, and be available on Amazon Prime Video in the US. It will air at some point in 2017 - no specific date has yet been announced.
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