Britannia (TV series)

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Britannia
Series title over Celtic symbol and eye
Genre
Created by
Starring
Opening theme
ComposerNeil Davidge
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of series3
No. of episodes27 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerRick McCallum[1]
Production locations
  • Czech Republic
  • UK (Wales)
Running time40 - 73 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Global Distribution[2]
Sky Vision[3] (previously)
Release
Original networkUK and Ireland:

US:

Original release18 January 2018 (2018-01-18) –
present
External links
Website

Britannia is a historical fantasy drama[4] television show. It was created by Jez Butterworth and Tom Butterworth.[5] The show was the first co-production between Sky and Amazon Prime Video and stars Kelly Reilly, David Morrissey, Zoë Wanamaker, Mackenzie Crook, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Eleanor Worthington Cox.[6] It first aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK beginning 18 January 2018 and on Amazon Prime Video in the US beginning 26 January 2018.[3] The first series aired on Epix beginning 2 August 2020.[7] Pop songs were used as theme music for the three series to date: Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (series 1), his "Season of the Witch" (series 2) and "Children of the Revolution" by T-Rex (series 3).

DailyHistory.org says, "[t]he series has a feel of a mixed fictional, fantasy epic that incorporates a historical set of events."[8]

Synopsis[edit]

Britannia is set in 43 AD, when the Romans invaded Britain. Julius Caesar had failed to conquer Britain 90 years previously.

General Aulus Plautius and his second-in-command, Lucius, (identified as the centurion who stabbed Jesus) are determined to succeed where Julius Caesar failed, by any means necessary. An experienced warrior, Aulus establishes a fortified camp, gathers information from captives, even children, and learns that the Druids are the driving force behind the many tribes he faces. He determines that "you don't conquer the people, you must conquer their gods." He meets the Druids and undertakes a vision quest. Soon, he is talking aloud to Lokka (Loki), the Celtic god of mischief.

Young Cait of the Cantii tribe is about to take part in a ceremony to mark her becoming an adult woman when the Romans attack and largely destroy her tribe. She is forced to flee and wanders the forest, where she encounters and attaches herself to an unlikely protector, Divis "The Outcast".

Divis is a Druid with some mystical powers—divination, hypnosis, visions—but seems mad and has been driven into exile by Veran, leader of the Druids in Britannia. Divis roams the countryside seeking clues to the meaning of his apocalyptic visions, and believes he is on some kind of mysterious "mission".

Kerra, a princess as daughter of the Cantii King Pellenor, frets for her people's safety. The Cantii are in a perpetual feud with the Regni, a powerful and large tribe. The Cantii's only protection is an impregnable natural fortress formed from granite, yet King Pellenor makes no preparations to resist the Romans, other than relying on vague hints from the Druids to set policy. Kerra's brother, Phelan, appears weak and might well be a bad ruler, if given the opportunity. Kerra ambitiously takes her own steps to address the Roman threat, calling for a parley and venturing into Regni territory. Her actions enrage her father, who sends her to be judged by the Druids, and possibly flayed alive, as happened to her mother.

In the maelstrom of confusion and fear caused by the invasion, Romans and Britons ally with, and betray, each other as the Romans consolidate their position and disaster looms.

Cast and characters[edit]

Romans[edit]

Cantii[edit]

Regni[edit]

Druids[edit]

  • Mackenzie Crook as Veran and Harka
  • Gianni Calchetti as Rork Druid and Moss Face
  • Jodie McNee as Willa
  • Jack Roth as Ossian (Series 1)
  • David Bradley as Quane[10]
  • Abigail Rice as Elder 1
  • Peter Hosking as Elder 2 (Recurring)
  • Bluey Robinson as Rayne (Series 3)

Other[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1918 January 2018 (2018-01-18)15 March 2018 (2018-03-15)
2107 November 2019 (2019-11-07)2 January 2020 (2020-01-02)
3824 August 2021 (2021-08-24)12 October 2021 (2021-10-12)

Series 1 (2018)[edit]

Note: Every episode was available in the United Kingdom by download from Sky "catch up" following the first episode satellite broadcast.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Woe to the Vanquished"Metin HüseyinJez Butterworth and Tom Butterworth18 January 2018 (2018-01-18)
In 43AD, a nation is rocked by the arrival of an Empire.
22"Secret Alliances"Sue TullyTom Butterworth25 January 2018 (2018-01-25)
Having marked Rome's arrival with blood, Aulus sends envoys to parley with the tribes of Britannia, while also looking to learn more about the Druids.
33"Honor and Betrayals"Sue TullyJez Butterworth and Richard McBrien1 February 2018 (2018-02-01)
Aulus is reborn, but his destiny remains unclear. Cait is able to locate her father, but she can't free him from the Roman camp alone.
44"Judgment of the Gods"Luke WatsonTom Butterworth8 February 2018 (2018-02-08)
King Pellanor disowns Kerra and leaves her life in the hands of the Druids. But the gods' judgement is not what he expected.
55"Tractations"Luke WatsonJez Butterworth15 February 2018 (2018-02-15)
The gods have spoken, but Kerra must decide if she will accept their ruling. Antedia seals an alliance with Rome - on one condition.
66"The Chosen One"Sheree FolksonTom Butterworth22 February 2018 (2018-02-22)
After their long ordeal, Cait and her father finally arrive at the safety of the Cantii citadel, but a demon is on her trail.
77"Alone in the World"Sheree FolksonJez Butterworth1 March 2018 (2018-03-01)
Cait and her father seek shelter in the ruins of their old home, where she is visited by someone she never expected to see again.
88"Initiation"Christoph SchreweJez Butterworth8 March 2018 (2018-03-08)
The battle of wills between Kerra and Antedia intensifies, as the Regni play their trump card. Aulus enlists deadly exiles to find Cait.
99"Pax Romana"Christoph SchreweTom Butterworth15 March 2018 (2018-03-15)
The end appears to be close for the Cantii, as Aulus unveils how the Roman Empire truly conducts business.

Series 2 (2019–20)[edit]

Note: Every episode was available in the United Kingdom by download from Sky "catch up" following the first episode satellite broadcast.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [11][12]
101"Imperial Visit"Luke WatsonTom Butterworth7 November 2019 (2019-11-07)
Two years after the invasion, a dead man awakens who could spell the end of everything.
112"May the Gods Speak"Luke WatsonJez Butterworth14 November 2019 (2019-11-14)
The Dead Man sends Hella on a mission. Phelan's new life comes crashing down and Rork's suspicions about Veran lead him into a duel.
123"Genesis"Luke WatsonTom Butterworth21 November 2019 (2019-11-21)
Veran gives Ania a terrible choice. Harka brings Phelan under his spell and the next stage of Cait and Divis's prophecy begins.
134"Dark Game"Rob SavageJez Butterworth28 November 2019 (2019-11-28)
Hella makes Aulus an offer she knows he cannot resist. Phelan fulfils his mission and Cait and Divis' dreams spell new danger.
145"My Sister, the Queen"Rob SavageTom Butterworth7 November 2019 (2019-11-07)
A dream causes tension between Cait and Divis. Harka sends Love on a heart-breaking mission and Veran commits the ultimate betrayal.
156"The Eagle's Arms"Rob SavageJohn Henry Butterworth5 December 2019 (2019-12-05)
Philo and Brutus play a prank, but their timing could not be worse. Harka sends Veran a message.
167"Alliance of Dark Forces"Lisa James LarssonJohn Henry Butterworth12 December 2019 (2019-12-12)
Vitus returns with a message for Aulus. Ania is placed in an impossible situation and The Traveller tracks down Lucius.
178"A Painful Truth"Lisa James LarssonTom Butterworth19 December 2019 (2019-12-19)
Aulus outrages Domitius with a confession and Andra discovers the truth about her family. Divis tries to use his powers on Love.
189"The Crossroads"Issa LópezJez Butterworth26 December 2019 (2019-12-26)
Divis gets one last chance to prove himself. Meanwhile, Cait's newfound happiness is cut short as Phelan tries to right his wrongs.
1910"The Challenge"Issa LópezTom Butterworth2 January 2020 (2020-01-02)
Veran and Harka face each other in a challenge only one of them can survive. Cait is forced to face her destiny.

Series 3 (2021)[edit]

Note: Every episode was available in the United Kingdom by download from Sky "catch up" following the first episode satellite broadcast. Episodes 2 through 8 premiered on Sky Atlantic in Germany.

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
201"Episode One"Ben GregorJez Butterworth24 August 2021 (2021-08-24)
212"Episode Two"Ben GregorTom Butterworth & Jez Butterworth26 August 2021 (2021-08-26)
223"Episode Three"Ben GregorTom Butterworth & Jez Butterworth5 September 2021 (2021-09-05)
234"Episode Four"Joasia GoldynJez Butterworth5 September 2021 (2021-09-05)
245"Episode Five"Joasia GoldynTom Butterworth9 September 2021 (2021-09-09)
256"Episode Six"Mackenzie CrookMackenzie Crook9 September 2021 (2021-09-09)
267"Episode Seven"Joasia GoldynTom Butterworth16 September 2021 (2021-09-16)
278"Episode Eight"Mackenzie CrookTom Butterworth & Jez Butterworth16 September 2021 (2021-09-16)

Production[edit]

The first series was produced by Rick McCallum, Vertigo Films and Neal Street Productions and shot on location in Czech Republic and Wales.[13] Most dialogue in the series is spoken in English, which is used mostly to represent Vulgar Latin spoken by the Romans and Brythonic spoken by the Celts. Latin and Welsh (with English subtitles) are also used to represent both ancient languages, respectively,[citation needed] particularly in rituals and other scenes with formulaic language.

In March 2018, it was announced that Sky Atlantic had renewed the show for a second series.[14] Amazon was not involved in production and did not stream the second season.[15]

The show was renewed for a third series in January 2020.[15] In June 2020, U.S. premium network Epix announced it would partner with Sky to produce the third series. It would also air the first series beginning August 2, 2020, and the second series beginning October 4, 2020.[7] Filming of the third series was shut down in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic,[16] and resumed in September 2020.[17][18]

Reception[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 76% (37 reviews) 70 (8 reviews)
2 100% (7 reviews) TBD (0 reviews)

The first season received positive reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 76% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.54/10 based on 37 reviews, with site's critics consensus saying "Brilliantly bonkers, Britannia's duplicitous characters and campy fantasy won't be for everyone, but those looking for less-serious swords and sorcery may enjoy its spellbinding madness".[19] On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, it scored 70 out of 100, based on eight reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Tartaglione, Nancy (3 August 2016). "Sky & Amazon To Rule 'Britannia'; Jez Butterworth Penning Event Period Drama". Deadline.com. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Anarchic drama Britannia lands on EPIX (Sky Group)". CompanyNewsHQ. 30 June 2020. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Ritman, Alex (3 August 2016). "Sky, Amazon Team on Roman Invasion Drama 'Britannia'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  4. ^ Grebey, James (17 January 2018). "'Britannia' Looks Likes Like 'Game of Thrones,' But Proudly Dumb". Inverse. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Britannia: Jez Butterworth talks his first major foray into TV, druids and Brexit". Gerard Gilbert. The Independent. 17 January 2018. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  6. ^ Barraclough, Leo (3 August 2016). "Amazon, Sky Team on Jez Butterworth's 'Britannia,' Starring Kelly Reilly". Variety.
  7. ^ a b White, Peter (29 June 2020). "Epix Boards Sky Historical Drama 'Britannia', Will Co-Produce Season 3, Air Seasons 1 & 2". Deadline. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ "How Accurate Is the TV Series Britannia? - DailyHistory.org".
  9. ^ Danaher, Caitlin (24 September 2020). "Sophie Okonedo joins cast of Britannia for upcoming third series". Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  10. ^ Mariola, Tay (29 January 2018). "Crítica | Britannia – Primeira Temporada (Amazon)". Volts. Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. Há até uma participação especial de ninguém menos que David Bradley, O Walter Frey de Game of Thrones.
  11. ^ "Britannia – Listings". Next Episode. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  12. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (13 October 2019). "Britannia season 2 reveals striking new cast pictures – with Mackenzie Crook as TWO characters". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  13. ^ Harrison, Ellie (18 April 2018). "Where is Britannia filmed?". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  14. ^ McLennan, Cindy (16 March 2018). "Britannia: Season Two; British Historical Fantasy Series Renewed". TV Series Finale. Archived from the original on 17 May 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  15. ^ a b White, Peter (15 January 2020). "Britannia'Britannia' Renewed For Third Season By Sky Atlantic As Amazon Exits Fantasy Drama". Deadline. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  16. ^ Kanter, Jake (17 March 2020). "'Britannia': Sky's Historical Drama Shuts Down Over Coronavirus". Deadline. Archived from the original on 23 March 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  17. ^ "And we're back!". Twitter. @Britannia_TV. 1 September 2020. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Geograph:: Filming props at side of track © Phillip Williams". www.geograph.org.uk. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Britannia: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Britannia: Season 1". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2021.

External links[edit]