Braving unforgiving climates, keeping up an ancient way of life, and living in an isolated village... Nope! It's not a rundown of Game of Thrones' dreaded Night's Watch, but just some of the things contestants will be experiencing as part of the Smithsonian Channel's new project Ultimate Viking, which is being billed as an "adventure living series."
Hosted by Kristofer Hivju (AKA fan-favorite Tormund Giantsbane) and his wife Gry Molvær Hivju, the show aims to explore every aspect of Viking life in order to discover what it was like to live as one over a 1,000 years ago. A diverse cast of modern-day contestants will be split into "clans" that will live side by side in a real Viking settlement, featuring everything from authentic buildings and tools to clothing and food. Not to mention the harsh Nordic weather!
As the casting call video (below) shows, participants will have to work to master Viking axes and swords, learn how to forage and fish in the Norwegian mountains, and master the art of sailing an authentic Viking ship — all under the guidance of some of the world's leading Viking historians.
And if that's not all! Despite their cultured and sophisticated communities, Vikings were also known for being fiercely competitive. The contestant's clans will be forced to compete against each other in a variety of challenges, including taking part in authentic (but no less extreme) Viking survival expeditions, along with other tasks and challenges based on historical facts, literature, and archaeological evidence.
The show will consist of eight hourlong episodes. Filming is currently underway on the production, which is set in both the U.K. and Norway. Part of the series' production involves constructing the custom Viking settlement that contestants will be residing in for the duration of the show, on the Norwegian coast.
Ultimate Viking will be directed by showrunner Stephen Shearman, with original music by composers Silvia Strand and Jonathan Gregory. The project is being produced by Wildflame Productions Ltd., Zig Zag Productions Ltd. and Tindefilm, with David Royle, Charles Poe, Llinos Griffin-Williams, Paul Islwyn Thomas, Hilde Nerland, Danny Fenton, and Matt Graff all serve as executive producers on the series.
No release date for the show yet, but it is expected to premiere in 2021.