ITV’s Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands gets early online premiere
James R | On 28, Dec 2015
ITV’s Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands is available to watch online before its TV broadcast for today only.
The new re-imagining of one of literature’s most epic tales stars Kieran Bew as the titular hero, with a cast that includes William Hurt as Hrothgar and Wolf Hall’s Joanne Whalley as Rheda. Created by James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman, the 12-part series (produced by ITV Studios) is set in the mythical Shieldlands, a place of spectacle and danger populated by both humans and fantastical creatures. Broadchurch’s Joe Sims and David Bradley join the ensemble, alongside The Shadow Line’s Ace Bhatti, Mr Selfridge’s Gregory Fitoussi, Homeland’s David Harewood, Downton Abbey’s Ed Speleers and Ripper Street’s Kirsty Oswald.
Described by ITV as “essentially a Western set in Britain’s mythic past”, the show – filmed in the north east of England – explores the notion of good and evil, alongside wider political undercurrents and inner personal turmoil.
The first episode sees Beowulf (Bew) gallop through the Shieldlands to his childhood home of Herot, hoping to set right past wrongs. Having left the frontier town 20 years earlier, he returns to pay his respects to ailing ward and Thane of Herot, Hrothgar (Hurt). However, his gesture of goodwill soon opens old wounds, following the controversial appointment of new Thane Rheda (Whalley), wife of Hrothgar.
Episode 1 will be broadcast on ITV on Sunday 3rd January at 7pm, but you can watch it online now on ITV Hub. The hour-long opener was released on Christmas Day as a holiday treat and is available until 11.59pm on Monday 28th December.
The early online premiere follows the relaunch of catch-up service ITV Player as ITV Hub. It is not the first time that a show has been previewed exclusively online by ITV, though: Ray Winstone drama The Trials of Jimmy Rose received an early VOD premiere in August 2015. The BBC, meanwhile, has also debuted a number of shows on BBC iPlayer ahead of their broadcast, including the whole of Peter Kay sitcom Car Share earlier this year.
To watch Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands’ opening episode, click here. (Warning: It contains some violence and fantasy scenes younger children may find scary.)
Here’s a glimpse of the episode: