By Cassandra Yany
Smithsonian Channel has authorized an innovative new series that combines adventure with rich history to unveil the never before seen secrets of Viking society. The series, whose working title is ULTIMATE VIKING, will be hosted by Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and award-winning journalist Gry Molvær Hivju.
“We are very excited to host this living history adventure series set in our beautiful country Norway,” said Gry Molvær Hivju and Kristofer Hivju, the 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.”
The series is also set to include a one-hour documentary slated to premiere in 2021 on Smithsonian Channel. Filming for the show has begun and production will take place in Norway and the UK, with a custom Viking settlement being constructed on the Norwegian coast. The adventure series will feature a diverse cast of contemporary, highly skilled men and women who will be challenged to see if they have what it takes to live as true Vikings.
Each episode is rooted in authentic Viking knowledge, exploring every aspect of the lifestyle to discover what it was truly like to live as a Viking over 1000 years ago. The show will follow ordinary people participating in remarkable expeditions under harsh Nordic conditions. The clans will compete against each other in a series of often extreme Viking survival expeditions, challenges and tasks based on historical facts, literature and archaeological evidence.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to re-invent the entertainment experience for our curious global audience,” said David Royle, EVP and Chief Programming Officer of 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.”
The series’ cast lives side by side in a Viking settlement, with every detail true to the era, including the buildings, clothes, tools and food. Participants will need to master tools like axes and swords, learn to forage and fish in Norway’s snow-capped mountains, and master the art of sailing a Viking ship while mentored by the world’s leading Viking historians.
ULTIMATE VIKING (w/t) is produced by Wildflame Productions Ltd., Zig Zag Productions Ltd. and Tindefilm for Smithsonian Channel. The Series is directed by Showrunner Stephen Shearman, with original music composed by Silvia Strand.
“ULTIMATE KING (w/t) aims to re-imagine living history for television audiences across the world,” said Llinos Griffin-Williams, the Executive Producer of Wildflame Productions. “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 the Smithsonian Channel.”
View a sneak peak of the series here
About Smithsonian Channel
Smithsonian Channel™, a ViacomCBS Inc. network, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment, available in HD and 4K Ultra HD across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel, winner of Emmy® and Peabody awards for its programming, is the home of popular genres such as air and space, travel, history, science, nature and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are hit series including Aerial America, America in Color, America’s Hidden Stories, Apollo’s Moon Shot, The Pacific War in Color and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier, Walk Against Fear: James Meredith and Princess Diana’s Wicked Stepmother. Smithsonian Channel is available internationally in Canada, Singapore, Latin America, the UK and Ireland.
About Wildflame Productions
Wildflame Productions creates extraordinary content for audiences throughout the world from its base in Cardiff. This UK nations and regions factual powerhouse works closely with the best creative talent and a wide range of production partners to produce content for the UK and the international markets. CEO Paul Islwyn Thomas has built a strong reputation for producing factual and specialist factual programming for a wide range of broadcasters, including the full range of national BBC channels, Channel 5, S4C, Discovery and many more. Wildflame prides itself on its excellence in storytelling, bringing great ideas and ambitious concepts and formats to audiences globally. In June 2020, the company returned to being wholly independent, after exiting the Flame Media Group.
Located on Norway’s wild and beautiful west coast, led by CEO Hilde Nerlund and DOP Tor Siverstøl. Tindefilm creates high quality, filmic content for the global market. Their first production, Lysleite, a creative documentary about the dwindling light in the polar regions won a Gullruten (Norwegian TV awards) and their second documentary, Bit – Ballerina Bulldog was nominated for best documentary at BIFF as well asGullruten for best original score.
About Zig Zag Productions
Zig Zag Productions is one of the UK’s foremost independent television production companies. With offices in London, New York and Northern Ireland, Zig Zag has produced over 700 hours of non scripted programming and has grown to become an internationally recognised, respected and award-winning television producer both in the UK, USA and internationally. Zig Zag has produced programming for broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Five, TLC, MTV, Fox, National Geographic, Discovery, OWN, Logo and Syfy. The company has also won numerous awards including the Rose D’or for Best Format.