A bold and revisionist take on the well-loved Arthurian Legends, The Winter King is available from Thursday 21st December on ITVX after being filmed across Wales and the South West of England last year. Our Film Office team assisted production company Bad Wolf to build the highly significant location of ‘Avalon’ at Blaise Castle Estate near Henbury.
A large section of the Echo Gate area of parkland on the Grade II listed Blaise Castle Estate was transformed into a medieval village set, comprising a large central tower and authentic period thatched dwellings constructed from wood, wattle and daub.
Set building and site preparations began at Blaise Castle Estate in August 2022, with filming taking place there between September and December. Bristol Film Office also assisted The Winter King’s production team to film in Redcliffe Caves in October 2022.
Gallery: Behind the scenes of The Winter King at Bristol’s Blaise Castle Estate
The 10-part drama follows Arthur Pendragon, played by Iain De Caestecker (The Control Room, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as he evolves from outcast to legendary warrior and leader. Set in the 5th century long before Britain was united, The Winter King explores a land of warring factions and tribes when the world was brutal and lives were often fleeting.
Cast includes Stuart Campbell (SAS Rogue Heroes, Clique) as Derfel, Ellie James (Giri/Haji, I May Destroy You) as Nimue, Eddie Marsan (The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe, Deceit) as Uther, High King of Dumnonia, Nathaniel Martello-White (Small Axe, I Hate Suzie) as Merlin, Daniel Ings (I Hate Suzie, The Crown) as Owain, Valene Kane (The Fall, Gangs of London) as Morgan, Simon Merrells (Good Omens, Knightfall) as Gundleus, King of rival kingdom Siluria.
It was always an ambition for Bad Wolf to have the piece film in this part of the world. We’re a Cardiff-based company and always want to work locally and in the surrounding area. We were based out of Bristol for the first season, with great access to the West Country and Wales.Julie Gardener, Executive Producer, Bad Wolf
I’m excited for people to see the beauty of the Welsh coast and the South West and areas around Bristol. The Quantock Hills. Cheddar Gorge. We’ve found all these wonderfully beautiful locations that haven’t been touched because they’re quite remote and I’m looking forward to people seeing the beauty of where we’ve been.”Producer Catrin Lewis Defis
When The Winter King’s production team contacted Bristol Film Office seeking the ideal place to build Avalon, we were only too pleased to assist them to use Blaise Castle Estate as the location. The Film Office assisted the production to transform a quiet corner of the parkland into a bustling medieval village, a central setting within the series, with minimal disruption. Our thanks go to the Council’s Parks and Estates teams and Nature Conservation Officer for providing their input and expertise prior to and during filming. Blaise Castle Estate looks stunning on screen as Avalon and really demonstrates the potential that Bristol’s green spaces offer as filmmaking locations.Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council
Take a look at these finished stills that show Avalon as it appear on screen:
Images courtesy ITVX
Commissioned for ITVX by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, The Winter King is produced by Sony Pictures Television-owned Bad Wolf. Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders, His Dark Materials) serves as lead director and executive producer, alongside Toby Leslie. Kate Brooke (Bancroft, A Discovery of Witches) and Ed Whitmore (Silent Witness, Manhunt) adapted Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles and also act as executive producers.
Julie Gardner (Doctor Who, I Hate Suzie), Lachlan MacKinnon (Industry, A Discovery of Witches) and Jane Tranter (His Dark Materials, Succession) serve as executive producers with Sherry Marsh (Pose, Vikings). Shelley Browning and Kenneth L. Browning are also executive producers and the drama is produced by Catrin Lewis Defis for Bad Wolf, in association with One Big Picture.
Episodes 1-5 of The Winter King stream on ITVX from Thursday 21st December; episodes 6-10 will be added on Wednesday 27th December. And go behind the scenes with Journey to the Winter King, streaming from 21 December