The Last Kingdom
Matthew Macfadyen as Lord Uhtred in BBC America's "The :Last Kingdom."

‘The Last Kingdom’ reveals major death

“The Last Kingdom” won’t shy away from gruesome 9th Century battle scenes when it premieres Oct. 10. BBC America makes that evident with the release of a first-look scene that also spoils a major death.

Yep, Matthew Macfadyen isn’t going to be around long in the role of Lord Uhtred, ruler of the kingdom of Bebbanburg in Northumbria.

In the scene above, Uhtred takes a Viking sword to the back of the head and through his throat as his Saxon army faces defeat. Ouch! No wonder people didn’t live very long back in the day.

That’s the Lord’s son, Young Uhtred (Tom Taylor), trying to avenge his father’s death during the battle. He’s attempting to kill the Danish warlord Earl Ragnar (Peter Gantzler), who will capture the boy.

Last Kingdom
Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred in “The Last Kingdom.” (Kata Vermes/Carnival Film & Television)

As BBC America says, “These events completely change Uhtred’s fate, and ultimately set him forth on his life’s mission.”

“The Last Kingdom” is adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s book series called “The Saxon Stories.” The eight-part drama follows Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon as an adult), as he tries to reclaim his birthright. It adds Uhtred’s story to the history of King Alfred the Great (David Dawson) and his desire to unite the separate kingdoms into what would become England.

“The Last Kingdom” joins FX’s “The Bastard Executioner” as a ripped-from-centuries-old headlines story to make it to the small screen. And although HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is not based on real events—or even set in our world—its success is likely why more and more projects like this our getting the green light.

Esquire Network is adapting “Beowulf” for TV, according to a recent release from the network. Deadline reports that “Game of Thrones” producer Frank Doelger and “Rome” producer Jonathan Stamp are working on a 12-part fantasy series called “The Perished Land.” There are no doubt more I’m not even thinking of here.

I’m all for it.

“The Last Kingdom” premieres after “Doctor Who” at 9 p.m. Oct. 10 on BBC America. The series second episode will be available on VOD following Saturday’s series premiere.