Bar­bar­ians Ris­ing

TV Plus (South Africa) - - MOVIEMENU -

Sea­son 1 His­tory (*186) 20:30 Drama

Rome wasn’t built in a day and it took over 700 years of war for the great­est em­pire in his­tory to fall. Eight-episode drama Bar­bar­ians Ris­ing (2016) looks at how bar­bar­ian hordes fought against slav­ery and de­fended their lands, led by com­man­ders like Carthage’s Han­ni­bal Barca (Ni­cholas Pin­nock), Ger­manic chief Ar­minius (Top Hop­per – Billy Bones in Black Sails, 2014-cur­rent) and gla­di­a­tor Spar­ta­cus (Ben Batt, Joe Pritchard in the UK Shameless, 2004-2013).

“A lot of shows about the Ro­man Em­pire, the rise and fall, fo­cus on the po­lit­i­cal in­trigue, the em­per­ors, se­nate, en­gi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­ture,” ex­plains exec pro­ducer Kris­ten Burns. “What we wanted to do was look at the other side – the bar­bar­ians who were on the other side of Ro­man ex­pan­sion, as Rome built it­self into this mas­sive civil­i­sa­tion. What we wanted to do was tell their story.”

While Kris­ten says that the suc­cess of sword-and-shield shows like Vik­ings (2013-cur­rent) and fan­tasy se­ries Game Of Thrones (2011-cur­rent) have “helped us”, she adds that “Game Of Thrones is fic­tion­alised but it was cer­tainly in­spired by bar­bar­ian his­tory. And the His­tory Chan­nel’s spe­cial on an­cient North Europe in a lot of ways was the in­spi­ra­tion for Vik­ings”.

There’s a lot to take in with each episode. Break­ing up the dra­matic reen­act­ments is com­mentary from ex­perts in his­tory and war, as well as mod­ern civil rights lead­ers like Rev­erend Jesse Jack­son, who give con­tem­po­rary in­sight to the sto­ries. Plus, says Kris­ten, “We’ve as­sem­bled a stel­lar cast. Be­sides Tom and Ni­cholas, we also have Richard Brake [who plays The Night King, the master of the white walk­ers, in Game Of Thrones]. He’s very men­ac­ing in that show and very men­ac­ing in ours as Mediter­ranean war­lord Gais­eric.”

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