Smithsonian Channel has greenlit ULTIMATE VIKING (w/t), an epic new series with an innovative format combining adventure with immersive living history to reveal secrets of Viking society as never before seen. Hosted by Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in the HBO series Game of Thrones and award-winning factual presenter Gry Molvær Hivju, the 8 x 60 new series will also include a one-hour accompanying documentary slated to air in 2021 on Smithsonian Channel. Filming has commenced and production will take place in the UK and Norway, with a custom Viking settlement being constructed on the spectacular Norwegian coast. This ingenious adventure series will feature a diverse cast of modern-day, highly skilled men and women who will be pushed to the extreme as they find out if they have what it takes to live as true Vikings.

Each episode is rooted in authentic Viking knowledge exploring every aspect of Viking life to truly discover what it was like to live as a Viking over 1000 years ago. Cameras will follow ordinary people taking part in extraordinary expeditions under harsh Nordic conditions. The clans will compete against each other in a series of authentic and often extreme Viking survival expeditions, challenges, and tasks based on historical facts, saga literature and archaeological evidence.

 

Life in Viking society is not for the faint-hearted as our cast live side by side in a real Viking settlement, with every detail authentic to the era, from the buildings to the clothes, tools, and food. Participants will need to master axes and swords, learn to forage and fish in Norway’s snow-capped mountains and master the art of sailing a Viking ship, mentored by the world’s leading Viking historians. Even in times of peace, the Vikings’ strong, cultured and sophisticated communities were fiercely competitive.

“We are very excited to host this living history adventure series set in our beautiful country Norway,” says Gry Molvær Hivju and Kristofer Hivju, Co-Founders of Tindefilm. “We are proud to show the fjords, ocean and wild mountains that our ancestors saw. For us, this series is all about a genuine extreme experience based on Viking society, set deep in the heart of the land of the Vikings. It’s going to be exciting, ambitious and based on historical evidence.”

 

“We are always looking for innovative ways to re-invent the entertainment experience for our curious global audience,” says David Royle, EVP and Chief Programming Officer, Smithsonian Channel. “Vikings have long captured the public imagination, and this brand-new format pushes boundaries to create a new way for our audience to be enthralled, sometimes appalled and often surprised by the challenges of Viking life.  It’s a modern-day interpretation, told through the lens of history.”

 

ULTIMATE VIKING (w/t) aims to re-imagine living history for television audiences across the world,” says Llinos Griffin-Williams, Executive Producer, Wildflame Productions. “Viking life was extraordinarily tough and the show is no exception. Our new adventure history format pushes living history to another level. It is an extremely ambitious series and one we are thrilled to be making for Smithsonian Channel. Wildflame has a passion for both history and stories which inform and excite the world, so we are thrilled to be bringing this idea alive in conjunction with our partners.”

 

ULTIMATE VIKING (w/t) is designed to give the viewer the most compelling picture of one of the most iconic periods of history,” says Danny Fenton, CEO, Zig Zag Productions. “Its unique combination of history, adventure and endurance brings Viking history to life in a way that has never been done before.  We are thrilled to be part of the co-pro team.”

 

ULTIMATE VIKING (w/t) is produced by Wildflame Productions Ltd., Zig Zag Productions Ltd. and Tindefilm for Smithsonian Channel. David Royle and Charles Poe serve as Executive Producers for Smithsonian Channel. Llinos Griffin-Williams and Paul Islwyn Thomas are Executive Producers for Wildflame Productions; Hilde Nerland for Tindefilm; Danny Fenton and Matt Graff for Zig Zag Productions. The series is Directed by Showrunner Stephen Shearman, with original music composed by Sylvia Strand and Jonathan Gregory.

Click here to view the casting call

If you would like to apply for Ultimate Viking, please email: casting@wildflameproductions.com

Abbie Bolitho

With a background in current affairs and factual programmes, Abbie has been able to apply her research and organisational skills to a wide variety of projects in both English and Welsh. These include S4C's Nyrsys, Dim Byd i Wisgo and more recently Beasts - a series on the 'top 10' animals for children which is being sold internationally.

Cai Glover

Since joining Wildflame in the development team, Cai's worked on several productions using his skills as an editor, self-shooter and researcher including S4C's digital series Bwrw 'Mlan, BBC Bitesize History KS2, S4C's Dim i'w Wisgo and most recently as a shooting assistant producer on the second series of S4C's Nyrsys.

Catrin Jones-Shawe

Catrin’s career began in children’s television where she produced content for both S4C and CBBC.

Catrin has a passion for health-based documentaries and in 2019 won a BAFTA Cymru Award for best factual series for Velindre: Hospital of Hope (ITV Wales). Her most recent series, Nyrsys (S4C) is an observational documentary format highlighting the incredible work performed by nurses across Wales.

Celyn Williams

With a passion for history, Celyn has spent her time collecting and telling stories of extraordinary individuals from across Wales.

Her previous work includes a number of high-profile history productions including Time Team, and The Aberfan Wives Club (ITV).

For S4C, Celyn worked on the double Welsh BAFTA winning Adam Price a Streic y Glowyr and more recently, a living history series The 1900 Island (BBC).

Connie Fisher

Connie moved into the world of television after a career as a West End leading lady playing Maria Von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Sound of Music.

With a passion for TV and entertainment, Connie leads the development of formats & features projects for Wildflame and works closely with broadcasters creating projects for both high-profile and emerging talent across the full range of factual programming.

Esme Horne

The last 10 years of Esme’s career has been dedicated to understanding the production process and supporting a creative vision from development to transmission. Since joining Wildflame in 2017, Esme has worked across the Wildflame slate: reinforcing the production management team and helping to assure all projects are run smoothly and efficiently.

Gareth Fisher

Gareth has extensive knowledge of the business of production across all genres. He has an outstanding track-record in controlling large production teams and multi-million-pound projects. Gareth has worked with all of the main UK Broadcasters as well as forging strong relationships with International Broadcasters and Co - Production partners.

Leona Cowley

Leona has been with Wildflame since its inception and has a wealth of experience in a senior production management role working on regional and high-profile documentaries being filmed in various exotic and remote locations across the globe. Her extensive experience spans some 25 years working across most programme genres.

Llinos Griffin-Williams

Bafta Cymru Winning Executive Producer, Llinos is Executive Producer, Factual and International Co-productions at Wildflame Productions. She leads on international content development, production and delivery of Factual Programming to Domestic and International Broadcasters and is part of the Wildflame Senior Management Board. Llinos is Vice Chair of RTS Cymru Wales and a member of Welsh Indies Council TAC. 

Manon Alice-Thomas

After graduating with a BA (Hons) from York St. John’s University Business School, Manon gained her first professional experience working in events management. She then completed an internship with Kate Borde at Cardiff based talent agency KBPM, and has recently undertaken a contract as Junior Assistant at the ‘InterTalent Group’, London, supporting the Chairman and Founder, Prof. Jonathan Shalit, OBE.  As a Television Production Coordinator for Wildflame, Manon supports the team across the slate of UK and international productions

Mike Davies

Mike has accrued over a dozen years of experience in company and programme finance.  His expertise encompasses day-to-day financial transactions, managing company-wide spending against fiscal targets, preparation of monthly management accounts and forecasting. He is also responsible for day to day scheduling and running of Wildflame’s editing facilities.

Paul Islwyn Thomas

Paul is founder and CEO of Wildflame Productions and is responsible for the creative and business management of the company. With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, Paul has built an enviable reputation as one of the leading factual Executive Producers and TV Executives working in Wales. Throughout a distinguished career Paul has delivered hundreds of hours of programming for both UK and international broadcasters. He is currently Chair of the highly acclaimed ‘It’s My Shout’ Training Scheme which offers exciting pathways into the industry for all championing diversity and social inclusion.

Tabitha Clarke

Tabitha has recently graduated from Bath Spa University with a First Class degree in Film, Television and Digital Production. During her internship at Wildflame, Tabitha is excited to learn more about budgeting and scheduling as well as all the workings within a thriving production company.

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