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.