Drama. There is deception and betrayal as Uhtred fights for Wessex. In a devastating showdown at Beamfleot, will the bonds of love prove stronger than the bonds of blood?
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This programme contains some violent scenes.
'I am Uhtred, son of Uhtred. Sigefrid and Eriks' army
'raided our camp and kidnapped the Lady Aethelflaed.'
You took my daughter into battle.
'To learn her fate, I sent my loyal men Rypere
'and Sihtric to Beamfleot as spies.'
I swear that this prize will not
be sold cheaply.
Wessex shall pay its share of silver and if necessary
its share of blood!
I will do what needs to be done.
What is your opinion on paying a ransom for Aethelflaed?
Not one I am prepared to say aloud.
I may need you.
'Alfred sent us to negotiate the ransom, but secretly
'Aethelflaed and Erik have fallen in love.'
Your husband is a fortunate man.
He is not the man I would choose to be with.
I cannot let her go.
I will leave this place with Erik or I will not leave at all.
Will you help me?
'Destiny is all.'
What binds a man to a land?
You have a poor wretch, toiling in the fields, burning in summer,
shivering in winter. He works all day, every day
for nothing more than a loaf of bread and a pot to piss in.
His children die of disease, his wife dies giving him children.
Yet, when that land is threatened, something stirs. Why?
It is the land that feeds him.
More than that.
Er, the trees off the land are used for shelter and fire.
More than that.
Is it love, Father?
Oh, for the Lord's sake, can you not remain quiet?
But, yes, the bastard has it, it can only be love.
It is a powerful thing. Would you not agree, Lord Uhtred?
From wretch to warrior,
love gives a man strength often at the cost of his mind.
It's not a small amount, Lord.
3,000 lbs weight of silver and 500 lbs weight of gold.
The first of the metal is to be delivered by the next full moon,
the remaining amount one month later.
That is an impossible amount.
An absurd amount.
-That is the best price?
-It is, Lord.
It is less than half their first demand, Lord.
What it is is the entire wealth of Wessex.
What it would buy is an army to ensure the end of Wessex and Mercia.
Without the money... what will happen to my daughter?
She is too valuable to simply kill, Lord, it would be humiliation.
She will be taken to every town where Danes rule, she will be
paraded before mocking crowds and men would pay to take their turn.
It is not just the life and reputation of my daughter at
stake here, it is the dignity of Wessex.
So, many thousands of men must die, Lord, for the dignity of Wessex?
A country is its history, the sum of all its stories -
we are what our fathers made us.
Would you have me leave my descendants the shameful tale
of how a Princess of Wessex was whored to the highest bidder?
That is a tale that would overshadow all others.
The battle of Ethandun would become insignificant.
But, Lord, if we pay this ransom...
I do not see how there will be a Wessex.
The tale they tell will be of the king who paid for the very
army that destroyed him!
God would not allow that to happen.
It's not God we are dealing with, it is the Northmen, the Danes!
Non-believers, over whom we will triumph.
Should a great battle come of this,
we shall have men enough to face them.
I expect the fyrd of Mercia to be at our side.
It shall be there, Lord.
The metal will be paid, in full.
My daughter will be spared and Wessex shall avoid indignity.
But not the slaughter.
Odda, I hear your doubts and I ask you to renew your faith.
Aethelred, you will join Father Beocca and I before returning to Mercia.
We must decide how best to gather the ransom.
This cannot be how it ends.
Lord, you have said all you can say.
There's nothing more for you to do, so I beg you - do nothing.
Dagfinn, you can go.
All of you.
Do you have it?
Is that enough?
Uhtred can read?
All of my father's ealdormen can read and write.
Although the letters Uhtred has written,
you could count with one finger.
I will teach you.
What is to prevent him from doing nothing?
We are asking him to risk everything for no reward.
Why should he come?
It is Uhtred, he will come. I swear.
He's with her, again?
He cannot keep away from her.
Let us hope he does not take her for his wife...
..or else our fortune is lost.
Is this true, huh?
Sigefrid! Which woman is mine?
The ugly one.
We walked them for miles, see they are fed and watered.
Horses and slaves.
You are called Sihtric?
Yes, Lord. Good evening to you, Lord.
Uhtred says you can be trusted.
So you will take him this letter.
This is a great responsibility.
They will have no peace.
I have told them the same.
But you will still help them?
I must, I have no choice.
If they escape then there will be no ransom paid. No great army.
The men of Wessex are saved, yes, but what becomes of you?
Alfred will see it as a betrayal.
You will have broken your oath.
Tomorrow I will make a sacrifice to keep you safe.
All of us?
Give your name to the scribe.
The sum of your contribution will be written beside your name.
We're helping to free the Lady Aethelflaed.
I've got nothing to give, I've got a family.
Any man or woman found to be hiding the value of their wealth
shall be punished.
All must pay their share.
You have the gratitude of the King, and of God.
Say to the King exactly what you said to me. Exactly.
Lord, this man is from Canterbury.
The Northmen at Beamfleot are now crossing the river and
raiding directly into Wessex.
They have taken my wife and daughters, Lord.
The youngest is just eight years.
While we do nothing, Lord, but gather half-pennies from the poor.
Father, you will take this man away,
feed him and give him rest at an inn.
Odda, what is it you want?
Lord, he is just one man, but he has lost two brothers at Ethandun,
two daughters and a wife to the Northmen, and yet guards will
knock at his door and demand one third of the little he has,
all to help preserve the dignity of Wessex.
This insolence is too much.
Then in six months' time we shall ask for his life!
What I want, Lord, is for good sense to prevail.
By good sense, I presume you mean the death or humiliation of my
daughter and of the reputation of Wessex?
Or we march, Lord, and we fight.
If we march they will kill her.
And she will be considered a martyr, for Wessex, Lord,
her dignity preserved!
And you would still have the Prince, Edward, your line is intact!
Odda, what has saved you from outright banishment is that
you chose your King over your own son.
Lord, I chose Wessex over my son.
-You should at least consider doing the same!
What am I to do with you?
Your injury and your appetite for wine
have robbed us both of your worth.
You no longer serve a purpose.
Then, with your permission, Lord,
I shall return to my estate and my wife at Devonshire.
Whilst it is still a Saxon estate.
That would be for the best.
Should you be needed you will be sent for.
They buy the very swords that will slay them.
Lord, good evening.
I am a moth to the flame.
Yes, it is becoming a significant amount.
Significant is the word, Lord, in its size and its effect.
He would have done the same.
Pay such a ransom for his offspring, Lord? I doubt it.
I was a great disappointment to him...
which I regret.
But if you were not such a disappointment, Aethelwold,
I may have had you killed.
For the good of Wessex.
Never doubt it, every decision I make is for my country.
I understand completely.
You will set tongues wagging, drinking with the peasants.
Let them wag if it please them.
You asked me some days ago if I agree with the payment of
I do not.
If I had an army to call upon, a fyrd to raise, I would prove it.
But I have not.
I appear to have joined you, Lord.
He's been there for part of the day and all of the night.
He's a good man and I worry that it will damage his reputation, Lord.
If he can stand, it can only enhance his reputation.
Lord. May we join you?
Is he here still or has he already left?
Erm, no, he's long gone, Lord.
Perhaps you've drank enough, Lord?
It is entirely possible.
Though the ale they brew here is weak upon the orders of Alfred.
You're joking, Lord.
What, that's true?
It is, yes.
It is so a man can work the next day,
and swords remain in scabbards.
But they must not.
Somebody needs a bed.
And you will stay with him?
And do what?
If he needs to piss or spew up, you'll fetch him a bucket.
I have a plan, though it is likely I will die.
What is this plan, Lord, tell me?
I will raise the Devonshire fyrd.
Against the King's wishes, Lord? That is not something he would forgive.
He will go nowhere.
And you will go nowhere and you will say nothing about what you
-have just heard.
You mean, "No, Lord".
-Do as I say.
So, what does it say?
Erik has enough oathmen to crew a ship.
Three nights before the first of the metal is to be delivered,
we make our way down river to Beamfleot.
We kill the men that stand guard over the ships.
Erik and Aethelflaed sail away. And Wessex is saved.
-How many guards?
-Eight or ten, on the shore.
-That is all?
It's as simple as that?
Erik is in command, his men guard Aethelflaed,
his ship is ready and waiting.
It begins, it's simple. What happens is fate.
Well, why go by river and not horseback?
If we go with the tide it'll be faster, and to escape
we row across river.
They will follow you.
They will follow Aethelflaed. She's the silver.
Lord. You came from nowhere, like the devil himself.
You're leaving us?
I am. I've invited myself to Devonshire with the Lord Odda.
Looking forward to cooling my feet in the blue waters of the sea.
You're spying for Alfred.
Of course I'm spying for Alfred, I despise the sea.
Should Odda decide to do anything rash,
you will tell him to hold fast?
And why should he listen to me?
Do you have a reason you would like to share?
He is behind you.
Lord? Did you sleep well?
Uhtred, I did, soundly.
Though I'm not sure how I found my bed.
You were a little worse for ale, Lord, but no bother.
I'm glad to hear it.
You spoke of a plan.
Am I to be reminded?
The men of Devonshire.
They should remain in the fields.
I must have been very drunk.
It can be the only explanation, Lord.
On my life. I have no memory of it whatsoever.
Lord, I dare say this to you as your friend - do nothing.
If I do not see you again, Uhtred of Bebbanburg,
I wish you good luck, wherever fate may take you.
Thank you, Lord.
Should we pray, Lord? Together?
Am I being selfish, in wanting to spare Aethelflaed?
Lord, you were her father before you were a king.
But your reasons stand - she is Wessex.
She's the blood, the heart and the spirit of Wessex.
She cannot be humiliated.
Where is she?
WHERE IS SHE?
Now it is clear. Each man has a right to see her.
And every man will guard her with his life!
She is our wealth. She belongs to us all!
Who might they be?
They are the Devonshire fyrd, Father Pyrlig.
You are here as Alfred's spy. You will go no further.
You will get down from your horse and you will walk back to
Winchester with your news.
And what news is that, Lord? What do you mean?
You will tell the King that Odda is marching against the enemies of Wessex.
He can either march to halt me or march to join me,
it does not matter which.
Once the Northmen at Beamfleot see an army, battle will follow.
Please, Lord. Think about what you are doing, you are making traitors of your men!
The men you see are here to die for their King, not betray him.
They know nothing of Alfred's weakness.
But Uhtred, Lord! Did he not ask you to do nothing?
You will get down from your horse and you will return to Winchester.
And if I refuse?
Now, Father Pyrlig.
Lord, I beg you, think again.
What's your name?
I asked for ten, Dagfinn!
How are we supposed to scrub down a ship with three men?
The men refuse to leave the hall, Lord.
They say they are protecting their wealth,
under the orders of Sigefrid.
Who said this? Name them.
Your brother has called for more guards, Lord, until the metal comes.
You have been sleeping at the river.
You have made a fool of me.
You have humped her enough.
You have fed and washed her enough.
Do not allow the men to see what I know for certain -
you have grown too fond of her.
It is not her arse you want, it is herself.
It will pass.
You have shamed me.
What I have done...
..is protect you.
Erik, my brother, what is happening around us is your plan.
And it is a fine plan -
to give up Lunden and take the Princess to ransom her
for ships full of gold and silver, on which we will build an army
that no man will want to face and every man will want to join.
This will be our land.
All of it.
I will not allow us to fail.
-Haesten! A guard every ten paces.
Forgive me, Lord, it's not that the men do not want to serve you.
It is that they do not know where your loyalties lie.
Oh, Sweet Jesus, I cannot run. Please let them be Saxon.
Lord! Thank the Heavens, a friendly face.
Are you lost, Father?
Not lost but abandoned, Lord.
I'm returning to Winchester with an important message for Alfred.
We're going to see Alfred. Climb onto the cart.
You can help guard Mercia's ransom.
God bless you, Lord, saviour of my blistered feet.
Can I say to you that I'm afraid?
I wear a sword but barely know how to use it.
I pray that when battle comes, I will not fail you.
Osferth, at times we're all afraid.
Courage is finding the will to overcome your fear, nothing more.
Perhaps we'll find you an axe. It requires less skill than a sword.
But you must find the courage.
Thank you, Lord.
Aethelred and Aldhelm I was expecting.
It is Odda, Lord.
Prior to leaving Winchester, he sent a man, some man,
with word to raise the fighting men of Devonshire.
He has now met them on the road, Lord.
With the intention of doing what?
He is marching against Beamfleot.
Yes, Lord, he is.
I say damn him.
Lord, are we to stop him?
We have no other choice but to stop him!
-We must stop him.
-Lord, may I ask, where is Uhtred?
He was not beside Odda, if that is your meaning.
And it cannot have been Uhtred who carried the message to Devonshire.
Aethelred, you have how many men with you?
Over 50, Lord. Household guard. I can send for many more.
You will do that. Rest your men and horses,
but you will join me and my own guard before first light.
If we are to halt Odda,
we must march day and night and we must pray.
-Dear Lord God in Heaven...
..grant me the strength to survive this ordeal.
Give me the courage to overcome these hardships...
..and instil within me faith.
Faith in those I love.
For they will not abandon me.
Lord, I beg of you.
Sihtric, you said it would be no more than eight or ten.
He cannot count.
No, Lord, it has never been more than ten men.
Rypere's group will strike first from the water.
They look to the river, and then...
..we kill them.
But, Lord, we are just 11.
We attack as soon as it's dark.
Brother. May I speak?
I've something to say!
I have something to say to each of you.
You will be disappointed to know that this woman here...
is now mine.
No man is to touch her.
Not with his hands,
and most certainly not with his cock!
She belongs to me!
You weakened me, brother.
It should have been me who took the Princess and put her in a cage.
Yes, you're right.
I did not think.
You never think.
Because I have you to think for me.
It is three nights before the first of the silver will arrive.
We must be ready.
Tomorrow there will be no more ale, no more games,
no more fighting over women!
But that is tomorrow.
we drink as if there were no tomorrow!
Have faith. It is tonight.
Men, calm yourselves!
Get the shields!
You! That's enough!
He's not your kill.
That is not how you wet your sword.
Find your courage!
Or find your cross and go back to the monastery as Alfred would wish.
We shall rest for a short time only.
Take rest. Stay alert. I want watchmen front and rear.
Feed the horses and yourselves.
Odda is out there. He is near.
As is Aethelflaed, Lord.
We are here for Odda.
Erik should have been here by now.
Why increase the number of guards? For what reason?
Do we care? They are dead.
We go to the fortress.
We came to free Aethelflaed.
We came to kill the guards.
Bastard, you will say nothing!
The guards will soon be discovered missing,
and when they are, it's over.
We cannot wait.
But, Lord, we've lost half our men.
And there are hundreds of them,
both inside and outside the fortress.
Then a few more men will not be noticed.
We go to the fortress.
Uhtred. She said that you would come.
I dared not believe her, but you are here.
Tell me what has changed.
It is hopeless.
I have no crew for my ship, but the first task is not how
we escape Beamfleot, it is how we free Aethelflaed.
She hangs where every man can see her.
Lord, I enjoy a fight as much as the next idiot, but this is beyond us.
She's inside the hall?
Inside the hall, inside a cage. Surrounded by men.
Then we must first get rid of the men.
We do it now.
Fire! Fire! FIRE!
Outside now! Quickly!
Put the fire out before it spreads!
SCREAMING AND SHOUTING
Find something to carry water!
Six men, stay with the Princess!
Lock the doors!
Clapa, Sihtric, the cage!
This is one bastard lock to break!
Get it done before we burn!
It's all cleared, the hall of men, Lord.
Now, how do we clear the yard?
They will follow the silver.
Up to the ramparts!
Where did this begin?
Lady, quickly, run for the rear gate.
Do not stop!
The Princess! Stop her!
Get to your horses! Go!
Where is he? Erik! Where is he?
Lord, I do not know.
I have not seen him outside of the hall!
Do not do this. Do not dare to do this!
Brother, please let me have this one chance.
I cannot let her go.
She's our fortune! She's our reputation!
If it's reputation you want, you can begin with killing me.
If you want your fortune, you must kill me!
Clapa, the cage!
Uhtred, get her out of here!
We need to go. Aethelflaed!
You did this.
You've killed us both.
Clapa, with us!
She's escaping with Uhtred!
I want them dead!
Everyone after them!
Lord, I'm grateful to see you, as are my men.
I've told each one of them we are here on the orders of Alfred.
Lord, as you appear to have marched an army to their door,
I doubt the Northmen will believe you are not here to fight.
For Wessex, Lord.
Only for Wessex.
Lord, the sky!
It must be Beamfleot.
It is an army, Lord!
It's Odda. It's Odda's army!
Good God, I think it is Uhtred.
It is her, it is Aethelflaed. They have her.
Lord, we are being pursued by Sigefrid.
The Danes are low in number and disorganised.
My advice is that we kill them all.
Steapa, put a guard around my daughter. Keep her safe.
-Father, I want to fight them!
-You will do as I say!
Erik is dead, Lord.
Sigefrid will have no mind to negotiate nor wait.
He wants Saxon blood.
We have to fight!
Shield wall, Lord - only you can give the order.
Lord, we only have a fraction of their number.
We cannot win.
I am ready.
It will be today.
Who is with me?
Who is ready for glory...
FAINT SOUNDS OF BATTLE
Fill the breach!
Build the wall!
I see you, Princess, and I will kill you!
I will have your head and your tits!
Uhtred, there are no words.
You answered my call at the risk of everything.
I only wish he did survive, Lady.
Erik is still with me.
And perhaps within me.
And if over the coming months,
my husband should think what you are thinking,
it would be a great comfort, Uhtred,
to know that I could call upon you again,
should I ever need to.
Do you swear?
You are the man I trust most, Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
I swear, Lady.
Then I shall dare to kiss you.
It seems you have made a habit of rescuing Wessex.
Odda claims that you believed you were acting upon my orders, Uhtred.
What will happen to him?
There will be a trial.
And then you will kill him.
Treachery could not be ignored.
He's a good man.
He is my friend...
..and a traitor.
May I go, Lord?
You are free to go.
As my oathman.
I would have liked to have seen my land of Devonshire once more.
How did it look?
Devonshire was beautiful, Lord.
God be with you.
UHTRED: What binds a man to his land?
What power within allows him to give his life to preserve
his land and the lives of the families who work it?
It can only be love.
It will not be written that the Lord Odda saved Wessex...
..but that is the story I will tell -
that he gave his life to save the lives of many...
..and ensured King Alfred of Wessex became more powerful than ever.
Sigefrid had been defeated...
..but Alfred knew as well as I that the Danes were sure to return.
Shackled by oaths to both Wessex and Mercia,
it seems fate has made my sword Saxon,
even though in my heart I remain a Dane.
I, Uhtred, son of Uhtred,
shall be the warrior to bind kingdom to kingdom,
honour-bound to forge Alfred's dream of an England.
But one day, my sword will belong to Bebbanburg.
Destiny is all.
When King Alfred is told the great sum of Aethelflaed's ransom - and the horror that will likely befall his daughter if Wessex does not pay - he feels there can be only one way forward despite this jeopardising the kingdom. Suspicions at Beamfleot threaten to unravel the lovers' escape plan, and Uhtred must think on his feet if he is to secure Aethelflaed's freedom and save Wessex. Odda risks everything for the kingdom and makes an unlikely ally, while Gisela and Uhtred contemplate a future as enemies of Alfred. In a devastating showdown at Beamfleot, there is passion, heartbreak and treachery - if Uhtred survives, will he be free to finally recapture his ancestral lands?