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It has been translated by the likes of JRR Tolkien (in 1926) and Seamus Heaney (in 2000) and is said to have influenced Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings.Veteran star Hurt, 65, was thrilled to play Hrothgar and believes the series, which uses state-of-the-art CGI to bring the creatures to life, will be a hit with a modern audience.‘But the fencing helped with my career because when I was 19 and still at drama school I was choreographing our student plays’ combat scenes, then I went to work on Mark Rylance’s Hamlet at the Globe Theatre.Now I’ve got my dream job.’It didn’t seem that way at first for Bew, who was born in Hartlepool close to where the set was built.
“I no longer have to feel that my worth is tied up in some kind of image.
Like the famous Anglo-Saxon poem on which it’s based, the TV drama is a classic story of good versus evil, with heroes and villains, thrilling fights and chases, strange tribes and creatures, bloody battles and a notorious troll-like monster named Grendl – although be warned, some of the action is quite graphic for its 7pm slot.
The show is set in the Shieldlands, a world of swamps, woodlands and mountains, and the warrior hero Beowulf is played by 35-year-old Da Vinci’s Demons actor Kieran Bew, alongside a cast including Oscar-winner William Hurt, Wolf Hall’s Joanne Whalley and Ed Speleers, best known as Jimmy the footman in Downton Abbey.
The poem, often cited as one of the most important surviving works in Old English literature, was written anonymously between the 8th and 11th centuries – the period in which the Vikings were raiding Britain – and melds fiction with real historical events over 3,182 lines.
It tells the story of Beowulf who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the settlement of Herot, when his people are being terrorised by Grendl.It just didn’t give me a lot of faith in that whole world. Music is integral to our being – our heart makes rhythms for 90-some-odd years. ’” She soon began writing the reflective songs of hope and rebirth that would become Metaphysics, which she recorded with long-time kindred spirit Hawksley Workman (“Hawksley’s my spirit animal,” she quips) and new collaborators Daniel Romano, Joshua Van Tassel and Jean Martin (Tanya Tagaq’s drummer).