Happy Valley’s James Norton to star in new BBC period drama

james norton wears a black suit and black top accessorised with two golden neck chains
Happy Valley’s James Norton to star in BBC dramaMike Marsland/WireImage - Getty Images

James Norton is set to star in BBC's upcoming period drama King and Conqueror as Harold, Earl of Wessex.

The Happy Valley actor stars opposite Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who will appear in the role of William, Duke of Normandy. Both Norton and Coster-Waldau serve as executive producers, with the Jaime Lannister star stepping behind the camera to direct an episode.

The series follows the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066, with Harold and William finding themselves on the opposite sides of a war to ascend the British throne.

james norton wears a black suit and black top accessorised with two golden neck chains
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The eight-part historical drama is written by Michael Robert Johnson (Sherlock Holmes, The Frankenstein Chronicles), with the opening one hour-long episode directed by Baltasar Kormákur.

Filming will take place in Iceland next year, with TDP Development Partnership, Norton's production company Rabbit Track Pictures, Shepherd Content and CBS Studios producing in association with the BBC.

"We are thrilled to partner with James, Nikolaj, Baltasar, and the entire creative team on King and Conqueror, a truly groundbreaking series with world class talent and global reach," senior vice president of CBS Studios' International Co-Productions & Development Lindsey Martin said in a statement.

a close up of nikolaj coster waldau wearing a checkered grey suit with a mustard top
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"Michael's scripts offer a bold and fresh take on a story that has endured for nearly 1,000 years, and yet, the themes are as contemporary and relevant as ever. We are incredibly proud of what the team has achieved so far and can't wait to see it all come to fruition on screen with our star-studded cast," Martin continued.

"In the UK, we learn about William the Conqueror, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold's gruesome death in our school history lessons – but those headlines are all most of us can remember," head of BBC programme acquisition Sue Deeks commented.

"King and Conqueror will bring Harold and William to life, depicting their lives, loves and families, and the gripping, high-stakes power game that led to their fateful meeting in 1066. With incredible talent both in front of and behind the camera, I cannot wait for this exciting project to be realised."

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