THE WINTER KING
- Episode name:
- Transmission (TX):
- TX confirmed:
Week 51 2023 : Sat 16 Dec - Fri 22 Dec
- Sun 26 Nov 2023
The Winter King
[Full series drop on ITVX on Thursday 21 December]
Arthurian legend re-imagined. A bold and revisionist take on the well-loved Arthurian Legends, The Winter King follows Arthur Pendragon as he evolves from outcast to legendary warrior and leader.
The Winter King is set in the 5th century long before Britain was united. In a land of warring factions and tribes when the World was brutal and lives were often fleeting.
Featuring an exciting range of established names and new talent the cast includes:
IAIN DE CAESTECKER (The Control Room, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) as a young Arthur, who begins as an exiled bastard before becoming the greatest hope for Britain.
STUART CAMPBELL (SAS Rogue Heroes, Clique) is Derfel who transforms from left-for-dead orphan to the truest of all warlords.
ELLIE JAMES (Giri/Haji, I May Destroy You) is Nimue a priestess saved by Merlin because she can see the gods - he gives her power, wisdom and learning.
EDDIE MARSAN (The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe, Deceit) is Uther, High King of all Dumnonia, old and battle tested. He commands incredible authority, over almost all, bar Merlin.
NATHANIEL MARTELLO-WHITE (Small Axe, I Hate Suzie) is Merlin, a politician, powerful, enlightened, and absolute. Fearless in the face of a King’s wrath he follows his connection to his Gods in all things.
DANIEL INGS (I Hate Suzie, The Crown) is Owain one of Arthur’s closest childhood friends and like a son to High King Uther.
VALENE KANE (The Fall, Gangs of London) is Morgan, Arthur’s half-sister and another bastard child of King Uther. She is a sharp-tongued and independent minded pagan and student of Merlin.
SIMON MERRELLS (Good Omens, Knightfall) is Gundleus, King of rival kingdom Siluria. Imposing and savage, Gundleus is prepared to slaughter whoever he needs to secure power.
Produced by Bad Wolf in association with One Big Picture and distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
High King Uther rages at his bastard son Arthur and exiles him. Arthur finds a young boy, Derfel, close to death. He leaves Derfel in the care of Merlin and his prodigy Druidess, Nimue. Eight years later, Uther has a new heir. Merlin sees a vision of terrible destruction in newborn baby Mordred’s future. Derfel is shocked to re-encounter the man who attacked him as a child, Gundleus.
Uther dies. Merlin finds Arthur and asks him to return to Britain. Gundleus arrives at Avalon, and kills the baby King and Queen Norwenna. His men destroy Avalon and kill its inhabitants. Nimue is raped by Gundleus. Nimue and Derfel escape and find other survivors, who reveal that the Edling King is still alive. The survivors are surrounded, and all appears lost, when Arthur and his men arrive.
Arthur takes Gundleus prisoner. Nimue struggles with the trauma of her rape and plans to kill Gundleus. Arthur learns that Gundleus’ uncle Gorfydd is preparing for war. Nimue tries to pull Derfel into her plans, but Derfel can’t betray Arthur. Nimue is furious and decides to leave Caer Cadarn. Arthur releases Gundleus on the condition that he brings Gorfydd to Mordred’s naming ceremony.
Nimue returns to Avalon, where she is found by Merlin. Derfel and Owain travel to collect taxes from King Cadwys, but he convinces Owain to raid a nearby mine to settle the debt instead. The raid turns violent. Merlin discovers that Nimue is pregnant but refuses to help her perform an abortion – she runs away from Avalon. Finally, Gundleus returns with Gorfydd to Caer Cadarn.
Derfel feels uncomfortable about the attack on the mine – which Owain is keeping a secret. Nimue aborts her pregnancy, and then is discovered by Merlin who helps heal her. Tristan, prince of Kernow, arrives demanding retribution for the raid at the mine but Owain denies his guilt. Derfel reveals the truth and Arthur fights Owain on Tristan’s behalf – tragically killing his best friend.
Arthur and the tribe kings enter peace talks. Arthur suggests that as a show of faith, he marry Gorfydd’s daughter, Ceinwyn. She is horrified by the news. Arthur and Derfel travel to Powys and rest for the night by a lake. Arthur meets Guinevere, Ceinwyn’s lady-in-waiting, but he doesn’t know who she is. They arrive in Caer Dolforwyn and Arthur and Ceinwyn are betrothed.
A line-up of activities are set for the nights before Arthur and Ceinwyn are married. Arthur is increasingly drawn to Guinevere; they meet secretly and kiss. Gundleus attacks Derfel but Derfel prevails. Arthur breaks the betrothal with Ceinwyn. She tells him that Gorfydd will kill Guinevere. They need to escape now, which they do. Arthur and Guinevere marry in the countryside.
Arthur believes that Bedwin will be able to negotiate peace with Gorfydd. However, when Morgan and Derfel arrive in Powys, they discover Bedwin being crucified. Morgan is heartbroken. Sansum persuades Arthur into allowing him to build his new church near Avalon, which horrifies Nimue. She curses Sansum. A Christian mob accuses Nimue of poisoning them. They demand justice from Arthur.
Derfel and Morgan take Bedwin’s body back to Arthur. Ceinwyn reveals that Gorfydd is allying with the Saxons. Derfel discovers that the Christians died of natural causes, but Arthur reveals he has exiled Nimue to the Isle of the Dead. Derfel leaves to find Nimue. Arthur is in his darkest hour but regains his conviction thanks to Guinevere and Excalibur.
Derfel makes his assault on the Isle of the Dead and finds Nimue. Arthur meets the Saxon King Aelle and hands over information which will benefit their advance into Britain. In return, the Saxons will not attack Dumnonia for an agreed period of time. Arthur follows Derfel to the Isle of the Dead, and narrowly rescues him and Nimue by breaking the cave wall with Excalibur. Arthur has reconciled with his friends. He will need them in the battles ahead. Guilt ridden by the deal he’s been forced to make with the Saxons, Arthur vows to fight to save Britain.