The Last Kingdom is a historical fiction television series based on The Saxon Stories series of novels by Bernard Cornwell.
Developed for tv by Stephen Butchard, The Last Kingdom premiered in October 2015 on the BBC.
Three years later and the show was acquired by Netflix, with a total of five seasons, the last of which aired on 9 March 2022.
What Is The Last Kingdom About?
The first series roughly covers the events of The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman, the first and second novels in the series, albeit condensed for the tv show.
It weaves together fictional characters and historical events and is set in the early middle ages between 800 and 900 AD.
We follow the life of Uhthred Ragnarson (Alexander Dreymon), who was born the son of a Saxon nobleman but is then captured by Ragnar from his homelands in Northumbria.
Ragnar comes to accept Uhtred as his own son and as time passes, and Ragnar's daughter Thyra is about to be married, disaster strikes as fellow Danes attack the night before the wedding.
Only Uhtred and Brida escape and Uhtred vows to avenge his father's death. Forced to choose between the kingdom of his ancestors and the people who have raised him, his loyalties are tested.
By The Last Kingdom season two, and now a great warrior through his Danish upbringing, Uhtred returns to England, creating an alignment with King Alfred of Wessex (David Dawson) to regain his birthright.
The third season of The Last Kingdom is when the BBC bowed out, and Netflix solely produced the show.
The season covers the fifth and sixth novels The Burning Land and Death of Kings, with some plot changes.
Set between 893 to 900, the third season follows the decline in King Alfred's health and the ongoing conflict between the Christians and Danes.
It is also in this season that we are introduced to King Edward, played by Timothy Innes.
With ten episodes, season 4 is based on the seventh and eighth novels, The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne.
It is set around 901 to 912 and deals with Danish attacks and political struggles in Mercia and attacks on Winchester.
Fifth And Final Season
With advanced notice, we know that the fifth season would be the last.
It covered the stories from the ninth, tenth, and thirteenth novels, Warriors of the Storm, The Flame Bearer and War Lord.
Rounding out the show, the final season of the tv series dropped on Netflix on 9 March 2022.
The Last Kingdom Official Trailer
The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die
Fans will be delighted to know that even though the series has ended, it will be followed by a feature-length film titled Seven Kings Must Die.
Directed by Edward Bazalgette, filming finished on 19 March 2022 and the movie is now in post-production.
For now, the plot is under wraps as is the release date on Netflix but we expect it in 2023.
As soon as we know more about it, we will let you know.
Is The Last Kingdom Worth Watching?
Initially, the show was a BBC production before Netflix took over from season three onwards.
Clearly the creators were targeting the success achieved by the likes of Game of Thrones or Vikings.
The cast is solid, with great performances from Ian Hart, David Dawson, Emily Cox, Richard Dillane (Young Wallander), and Rutger Hauer.
For the first two seasons, the production was good but somehow felt just like any other BBC period drama. Thankfully everything ramped up when Netflix took over, generating that big-screen feel in the same way that Game of Thrones does.
There is more than enough blood and guts with some excellently shot battle scenes that give an authentic feel to the show.
But on the downside, some of the costumes look drastically out of place. In particular, the clothing, the makeup, and the sword used by the hero Uthred look ridiculous for the period it is set in. Think more eighties fantasy movie rather than a Viking battle god.
Despite this, The Last Kingdom is a great show and very entertaining. If you are looking for something new to binge on Netflix, I recommend you give it a go.
How Many Seasons Of The Last Kingdom?
In total there are five seasons of The Last Kingdom. The first two both have eight episodes but seasons 3, 4, and 5 each have ten.
That means there are 46 episodes, all lasting up to an hour, to get stuck into. And for more shows like The Last Kingdom, check out our recommendations here.
Where Was The Last Kingdom Filmed?
Filming for the first season in November 2014 and used the Viking ship replica Havhingsten fra Glendalough to portray the Vikings at sea.
The entire show was filmed primarily in Hungary, with most scenes shot near Budapest at Korda Studios on its Medieval Village Set.
Even when Netflix took over, they stuck to the same filming sets in Hungary.
Who Plays Who In The Last Kingdom?
Over five seasons there are sooooo many characters in the show that naming them all would be nearly impossible.
So we've stuck with the main characters who started the show in the first season…
Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred of Bebbanburg
David Dawson as King Alfred
Tobias Santelmann as Ragnar the Younger
Emily Cox as Brida
Adrian Bower as Leofric
Thomas W. Gabrielsson as Guthrum
Simon Kunz as Odda the Elder
Harry McEntire as Aethelwold
Rune Temte as Ubba
Joseph Millson as Aelfric
Brian Vernel as Odda the Younger
Amy Wren as Mildrith
Charlie Murphy as Queen Iseult
Ian Hart as Beocca
Eliza Butterworth as Aelswith, Alfred's wife and Queen of Wessex
Thure Lindhardt as Guthred
Eva Birthistle as Hild, a nun and one of Uhtred's most trusted allies
Tom Taylor as Young Uhtred
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