The latest medieval drama is set to air this fall on television screens: World Without End, an adaptation of Ken Follett’s international best-selling novel set amidst natural disaster, plague, and war in 14th century England.
Canadian viewers will be the first to see the eight-part mini-series, when it starts broadcasting on Showcase on September 4th. American viewers get to watch on Reelz starting October 17th, and the show is scheduled to air in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Italy and Hungary.
Starring Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) and Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Young Victoria) the mini-series is a kind of sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, which was set in twelfth-century England. That novel, which was also turned into a TV mini-series in 2010, focused on the construction of a cathedral in the fictitious town of Kingsbridge. The new series also takes place in Kingsbridge, 200 years later, when Edward III is just coming to the throne.
In an interview with The National Post, Cynthia Nixon explains that she enjoyed playing Petranilla, one of the more treacherous characters in the show. “It’s great fun,” to play the bad guy, she says, “especially one who wears beautiful, long wigs and dresses and speaks with an English accent, but who has this evil, depraved interior.”
The cast also includes Charlotte Riley (The Duchess, Wuthering Heights), who plays the feisty Caris, Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line, Me and Orson Welles) as the mysterious “Sir Thomas Langley”, Oscar nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Peter Firth (MI5, The Hunt for Red October) as the ruthless Earl “Roland”, Rupert Evans (Hellboy, Agora) as the duplicitous “Godwyn”, Nora von Waldstaetten (Carlos, The Countess) as “Gwenda”, the street-wise peasant girl, Oliver Jackson-Cohen (What’s Your Number, The Raven) as the rough and dangerous “Ralph”, accomplished stage thespian Tom Weston-Jones (Coppers, MI-5) as the creative and ambitious “Merthin”, Gemini Award winner and Genie Award-nominee Megan Follows (Heartland, Anne of Green Gables) as “Maud”, a lady fallen from grace, and Genie-nominee Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method) as the attractive and intelligent “Philippa”.
The joint Canadian-German production was filmed last year in Hungary, Austria and Slovakia. Nixon adds “When I arrived in Budapest, they took me right out to the set. It was this medieval town. Literally, a town. They built a town! I’d never seen anything like it.”
Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of Reelz Channel, said, “World Without End is a spectacular production with enveloping stories and a stellar cast of characters—all of which will encompass our entire network and we’re excited to take our viewers on the journey through Ken Follett’s brilliant world using our unique TV About Movies approach.”
Fans of author Ken Follett are also looking forward to the release of his latest novel, Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy, which will be in bookstores on September 18, 2012.