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VIKINGS Tops The Ratings With 8.3 Million Viewers

5th Mar 2013
8.3 million viewers tuned in on Sunday night to watch the first episode of the brand new series VIKINGS, which was made with the support of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, on the HISTORY channel, making it the number one new cable series launch of the year.

Created and written by Michael Hirst (The Tudors, Camelot), the series is the first scripted series for The History Channel and is an international co-production between Ireland and Canada which was developed and produced by Morgan O'Sullivan and James Flynn's company Octagon Films.   

With episodes directed by Irish director Ciarán Donnelly (The Tudors, Titanic: Blood and Steel), Johan Renck (Breaking Bad) and Ken Girotti (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), VIKINGS, which stars Irish Golden Globe Award winning Gabriel Byrne filmed on location in Ashford Studios in Wicklow for 18 weeks last summer.

VIKINGS follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), an actual historical figure, and the greatest hero of his age who pushed the limits of exploration. The series tells the sagas of Ragnar's band of Viking brothers and his family, as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes and chronicles the world of the mighty Norsemen who raided, traded and explored. Gabriel Byrne stars as Earl Haraldson, the most important local ruler in Ragnar's district whose position is threatened by Ragnar.

Irish crew involved in the production were the Emmy-winning Irish Production Designer Tom Conroy (The Tudors) and the three-time Emmy-winning Irish Costume Designer Joan Bergin (The Tudors) along with IFTA winning and Emmy nominated Dee Corcoran and Tom McInerny in charge of the hair and make-up departments respectively.

VIKINGS is produced by Octagon Films for The History Channel in Canada, with MGM Television bringing the series to a global audience as it serves as the international distributor outside of Ireland and Canada. It received international production funding from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) and benefited from Section 481.

Michael Hirst creator of Showtime's THE TUDORS and co-creator of Starz's CAMELOT is one of the premier historical story-tellers in the industry (Academy-Award winning film Elizabeth along with Emmy and Golden Globe nominated The Tudors). On VIKINGS Michael serves as Executive Producer along with Morgan O'Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo; The Tudors), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors; The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn (The Tudors; The Borgias) and Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; The Borgias).

VIKINGS is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by Octagon Films and Take 5 Productions.

Travis Fimmel (The Beast, Baytown Outlaws) stars as Ragnar, the first great Viking leader, a man of both history and myth; Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) stars as Rollo, Ragnar's excessive, cruel cousin; Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment, Usual Suspects) stars as Earl Haraldson, the most important local ruler in Ragnar's district; Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes) stars as Siggy, Earl Haraldson's beautiful wife; Gustaf Skarsgard (The Way Back) stars as Floki, a close friend of Ragnar's who is an inventive, creative boat-builder; and Katheryn Winnick (Stand Up Guys, Love and Other Drugs) as Lagertha, Ragnar's first wife and famous shield maiden who often fights alongside him. George Blagden (Les Miserables, Wrath of the Titans) plays Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England.
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