The BBC are teaming up with Netflix to launch a new epic series about Fall of Troy.
The eight-part series, Troy: Fall of a City, will tell the tale from the perspective of the Trojans’ and show how Helen of Sparta came to leave her family and her husband and spark a decade-long war.
It is written by David Farr, associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who recently had success in the highly regarded series The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston.
Paris (Louis Hunter) and Helen (Bella Dayne) in a scene from Troy: Fall of a City which will air on Netflix and BBC One
Hecuba (Frances Connor) dances in the new series about the fall of Troy
Agamemnon (Johnny Harris) and Menelaus (Jonas Armstrong) pictured in the new series
Bosses at the BBC are hoping their upcoming series can rival HBO’s hit fantasy show – and initial plans reported £2million an episode to realise the ambition, placing it among the BBC’s most expensive shows.
The show was first announced in 2015 as part of a new season of BBC One programmes.
David Farr said he took the twist on the old story because ‘we know the Greek story so well’ but ‘if you look at the story from the Trojan point of view it becomes a very different tale’.
Mr Farr, who has previously adapted Homer’s Odyssey, told the Guardian he wanted to ‘build an emotional relationship between the viewer and the city’.
‘The Greeks are a western force on an eastern shore demanding justice and retribution, and I think that resonates particularly strongly with a modern audience.
‘We can all think of images we’ve seen from this century and the last which might remind us of the fall of Troy’ he said.
He added that his tale is not only inspired by Homer but also Shakespeare and Chaucer – but there will be new elements which he is ‘entirely comfortable’ with as ‘these are living stories and every retelling adds another layer to the myth’.
David Threlfall who plays Priam previously starred as Frank Gallagher in Shameless
Hector (Tom Weston-Jones) and Paris (Louis Hunter) star in the epic new series
David Farr (left) wrote the highly acclaimed BBC series The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston (right). He is now tacking the tale of Troy
Mr Farr is prepared for the parallels with the huge epic Game of Thrones too. But where hit series Game of Thrones is based on ‘a Machiavellian, almost Jacobean, idea of power and intrigue’ his series will be more melancholy and less cynical where characters are driven by ‘great passions’.
While the love story between Paris and Helen of Troy is often pushed to the sidelines in retellings of the story, in Mr Farr’s adaptation it will be a central part of the story.
The series is filming on location in Cape Town and will premiere in the UK on BBC One and globally outside of the UK on Netflix.
It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and commissioned as a co-production for Netflix by Elizabeth Bradley and Alex Sapot. International distribution will be handled by Endemol Shine International.
Ms Moore, said the Troy adaptation was a ‘bold and visceral rendition of the 3,000-year-old classic’.
Achilles, Greek war hero, played by David Gyasi in the new BBC and Netflix adapatation
Odysseus, the leader of the Trojan Horse operation, pictured ‘at war’ in the series
She added: ‘Told across multiple parts, [it] will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen on BBC One before.
‘Intimate and epic, gripping and exhilarating, rich with psychological intrigue and human drama, we will feel the characters’ passions, pain and loss.’
Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, says the broadcaster has ‘the perfect cast to bring David Farr’s extraordinary scripts to life’ and that the show will be ‘like nothing broadcast before; a 3,000 year old tale crafted on a huge scale, ready to enthral and capture the imaginations of BBC One viewers as if it were being told for the very first time.’
It star Louis Hunter as Paris and Bella Dayne as Helen.
David Threlfall, made famous for his depiction of Frank Gallagher on Shamelss, plays Paris’ father, King Priam of Troy, alongside Frances O’Connor as Hecuba, Queen of Troy, and Tom Weston-Jones as their eldest son Hector.
The cast also includes Games of Thrones star Joseph Mawle, Harry Potter and How to Get Away with Murder actor Alfred Enoch and Aimee-Ffion Edwards who’s best known for her roles in Peaky Blinders, Skins, Luther and the Detectorists.
What happened in the Trojan wars?
An eight part TV series has been commissioned by the BBC and will air on the BBC and Netflix telling the tale of the fall of the ancient city of Troy following a 10 year siege believed to have taken place in 1184 BCE.
On April 24, 1184 BCE, Greek armies invaded the city of Troy, in modern day Turkey marking the end of the Trojan War.
The war had been sparked a decade prior when Helen, left her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta for Paris of Troy after Goddess Aphrodite made her ‘fall in love’ with him.
The face that launched a thousand ships: The story of Troy has been adapted many times. Left, Sheila Allen plays Helen of Troy. Right: Elizabeth Taylor, plays Helen of Troy opposite her husband, Welsh actor Richard Burton
Menelaus convinced his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to travel to Troy to retrieve Helen. The pair were joined by Odysseus, Nestor and Ajax, and accompanied by a fleet of more than a thousand ships.
The siege lasted 10 years and was interspersed with battles, fights and deaths of legendary figures.
It ended when the Greek armies retreated from their camp, and left a large wooden horse outside the gates of Troy. Bemused Trojans pulled the ‘gift’ into the city, but when night fell, a group of Greek warriors climbed out and seiged Troy from within.
The tale has been retold through time, most famously in Homer’s Iliad, which recounts the story of Odysseus’ journey home to Itchaca.
For centuries, it was widely believed that both war and the city were mythological. However, now most scholars believe Troy was real in what is now Hissarlik in Turkey.