With Britannia, Sky Atlantic brings a new historical period drama that marries a medieval setting with fantasy elements. This is a combination not unfamiliar to fans of contemporary television epics. We’re keeping a close eye on the programme, eager to see if the show is merely a Game of Thrones clone, or will create a cultural phenomena in its own right. With GoT off our screens throughout 2018, Britannia will either fill the void it has left, or remind us of what we’re missing. So, with high expectations, we’ve comprised a list of the reasons why we’re excited about Britannia, first airing on January 18th, 2018…
The brain behind 2017’s West End smash play, The Ferryman, Jez Butterworth is making his first foray into television screenplay with Britannia. During the ‘Golden Era’ of television, the small, rather than the silver screen has been lauded for intelligent script-writing and original narratives. We’re excited to see how Butterworth applies his talent to the show, and whether its fantasy setting will be grounded with sharp writing, a combination which has made Game of Thrones (though some contest the quality of the scripts in later seasons) the success that it is.
The programme takes place in 43AD, chronicling the story of the Roman Imperial Army of 43AD and its takeover of Britain, which, fittingly, is referred to by its Latin name, Britannia. Although historically accurate in its inclusion of the native Celtic druids, the show adopts fantasy elements as they conjure supernatural beings, and demons from the underworld in attempt to resist Roman invasion.
Britannia features a diverse cast of veterans from television, theatre and film, with top billing going to David Morrissey, a BAFTA Nominated actor, perhaps best known as playing The Governor in FX series The Walking Dead. Also features is Kelly Reilly, known for playing Caroline Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, and Maureen in Mrs Henderson Presents. However, fantasy fans will also look forward to the appearance of Mackanzie Crook, known for his work in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and Zoe Wanamaker, who plays Madame Hooch in the Harry Potter films.
First of its Kind
Airing on Sky in the UK and Ireland, Britannia is in fact the first co-production between a television network and Amazon Prime Video, and will also be available on the online subscription service. We’re excited as this is an indication of the Sky paying attention to current viewing habits – audiences often binge shows in a single sitting rather than watch on a weekly basis. Britannia shows us how television viewing is evolving, and indicates how creators are making content with a nod to how audiences now experience it.
All episodes of Britannia will be available on demand and will begin streaming on Sky Atlantic on 18 January 2018.