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Michael Hirst: I’m writing series four

As the addictive mix of family drama, breathtaking violence and Norse mythology returns to History, the man who brought The Tudors to life says the saga could run and run


In different hands, a drama about Vikings from the History channel could have been humourless and dull, but The Tudors creator Michael Hirst is the man who made Henry VIII’s court as soapy and steamy as a laundry, and with Aussie pants-model-turned-actor Travis Fimmel bringing an irresistible boyish charisma to the central role of Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok, this engaging mix of family drama, rustic politics and bloody violence quickly turns out to be highly addictive.

Good news, then, for fans of sexy history, as Hirst tells that not only is he working on a fourth season that will be longer than the previous ten-part series, but also that the show could run and run.

“I’ve written five episodes [of season four]. We’re going to do more episodes this year, I think we’re doing 16,” says Hirst. “I have a huge hope that we can continue [beyond that].”


The key to the drama’s potential longevity is that it’s based on the reasonably well-documented mythology-cum-history of Ragnar and his heirs, which means that **SPOILER ALERT** even after Fimmel’s character meets his demise (in a snake pit at the hands of Northumbrian King Aelle, if the series follows the ancient records) his sons – real historical Viking leaders Ivar the Boneless and Bjorn Ironsides – will be there to pick up the story.

“I always anticipated continuing with Ragnar’s sons because many of them became as famous, if not more famous, than he was,” says Hirst. “There was the rather remarkably named Ivar the Boneless and Ragnar’s elder son [Bjorn] who sailed around the Mediterranean, and then they went to Iceland and Greenland.

“So much happened in the early years of the Vikings it’s incredible, which is why I wanted to start at what was essentially regarded as the beginning of the Viking age.”

The saga of when and where to watch Vikings is as complex as Ragnar’s own adventures. It premieres in the US on History before becoming available to UK viewers on Amazon Prime and finally arriving back on History in this country.

Season two comes to History here from Tuesday 24th March, with the third run currently landing one episode at a time on Amazon and the previous two also available there, as well as on DVD.

Hirst dislikes fantasy drama and isn’t keen for his show to be compared with Game of Thrones but if you’ve never seen Vikings and like the HBO series there’s much you’ll probably enjoy about Vikings. It’s smaller in scale but feels more personal for it, not least because we spend so much time so closely involved with Ragnar, his family and his ridiculously blue eyes. But it shares Thrones’ political wrangling and bloody violence as well as the gorgeously shot landscapes of Northern Ireland, where much of Game of Thrones is filmed.

Although Ragnar’s journey – both to foreign lands and up the bloody pole of Viking nobility – is the main focus of the series, the other stand-out character is his wife Lagetha (Katheryn Winnick). A kick-ass warrior mum with the political wisdom to advance on her own in Viking society, she should be the poster girl for strong female characters in TV drama.

Compared with Tudor Britain, 13th century Scandinavia looks pretty feminist. And with leads like Fimmel and Winnick it definitely has something for both the men and the ladies…

Source: RadioTimes

Since this article, Vikings has been renewed for Season 4!


One comment on “Michael Hirst: I’m writing series four”

  1. Gro Torbjørnsen says:

    Hei , i wold like to gratulate you with the series . Its enjoyeble to see the everyday life of our ancestors . It portrait theyr lifes in a realistic way . We can still feel them in the land we walk on , me and my family live on odins haug and across the wally is tors haug (hill) , it was here thy came to blot to the gods and a very important place in vestfold called hof (hov). Here its grave hills around us even in the scool the children play on a unopen grave hill. The reason why i write is to give feedback on the aspekt of the åsatro(the religion) that still is important here in this land today. We miss the wery important godess frøya witch was godess of life and birth, crops and nature, but also godess of death and war. She was wife of odin and the godess the skjoldmøye (female warriors) would pray and give blod to. Historicly she would resive mutch more blod than Tor and Odin would. You havee got it right to portrait our wimen strong and indipendent where there is most been focused on a man dominated viking world but if you want to get it correct this is very important to include in the series. Im sorry , i dont want to tell you how to write your fantastic series , but just tip you what was important for both men and wimen of my ancestors land. Thank you and greetings to you all from Norge.

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