Fifth season of ‘Vikings’ currently filming in Ashford Studios
The show, airing on History Channel in the US and on RTÉ2 in Ireland, has been a worldwide hit so far and has remained a top ten cable drama series in the US since premiering in 2013. It is also now the number one telecast on Thursday nights on cable in all key demographics in the States. Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers has been confirmed for the new 20 episode season in a large yet unspecified role. Irish director Shane Saint Leger has also signed on to direct two episodes of the new season. Over 5000 people turned up last month to audition for the show in Dublin and Wicklow also.
Speaking to IFTN last month about the show’s success, producer Morgan O’Sullivan said: “We are delighted to be back for a fifth season. The numbers this year, particularly in America, have gone very well for us and it has resulted in us being given a 20 hour order for this season. It’s now the show to watch on a Thursday night on television and long may it continue!”
Critical praise has been also heaped on the show with Variety recently writing of the fourth season: “What Hirst and company have accomplished in terms of creating an appointment series on a channel with at best a modest scripted portfolio is no small feat. And in TV, as in the bloody eighth century, to the victor go the spoils.”
The first four series of the show, shot in Co. Wicklow with production in Luggala and Ashford Studios, were a massive undertaking and provided a huge boost to the Irish industry, with approximately 400 Irish people involved in the production of the series.
As the recent IFTA nominations have shown, the show has also dipped heavily into the Irish talent pool both in front of and behind the camera throughout the show’s run. Aside from being up for Best Drama Series, the show also received nominations for Moe Dunford (Best Supporting Actor), PJ Dillon (Best Cinematography), Joan Bergin (Best Costume Design) and Tom McInerney and Dee Corcoran (Make-Up and Hair), with Moe Dunford and Joan Bergin winning.
From creator and sole writer Michael Hirst, ‘Vikings’ is inspired by the sagas of Icelandic Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known legendary Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France.
Hirst serves as executive producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000, Sheila Hockin, John Weber of Take 5 Productions, Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer and James Flynn.”