Starting on Thursday, 22nd October, is the BBC dramatisation of Bernard Cornwell’s series of books about King Alfred the Great. The Last Kingdom is the first of eight novels in Cornwell’s Saxon Stories, which centre on the life of the fictional narrator Uhtred, about how King Alfred became the first king of the Anglo-Saxons and created England.
Cornwell said the BBC was interested in the story because it had echoes of today. “That’s why they [the BBC] picked it”, he said. “I do see something modern in it – that we are all immigrants. The Saxons are immigrants – according to the British, the Celts, they have stolen the land they have. The first shield wall battle which Uhtred takes part in is [for the Saxons] against the Welsh”. “The Saxons were very successful colonisers, and neighbours, then the Danes, the Normans, the Huguenots, you name it … right through to this century, we are all immigrants.”
If you would like to read about the historical background to the books, try some of the links to the digital resources available through Hampshire Libraries. We also have many books available for both adults and children. For an introduction to the Anglo-Saxons for younger readers, try “Anglo-Saxons” by Neil Tonge.
If you are in Winchester visiting the Discovery Centre, you might like to take a look at the King Alfred statue in The Broadway.