Hartlepool-born actor leads all-star cast in Beowulf

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A Hartlepool-born actor leads an all-star cast in an epic re-imagining of one of literature’s greatest heroes which begins this weekend.

Kieran Bew, 35, stars as the title role in ITV’s new 12-part action fantasy series Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, which was filmed in Northumberland and County Durham.

Kieran Bew as Beowulf in ITV's new series

Kieran Bew as Beowulf in ITV's new series

The former English Martyrs student has worked extensively on stage and screen since graduating from the London Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2001.

Beowulf – based on the Old English poem – is billed as a Western set in Britain’s mythic past and is packed with themes of courage, greed, betrayal and revenge.

It is set in the mythical Shieldlands – a place of spectacle and danger populated by both humans and fantastical creatures.

Hartburn, in Northumberland, was among the locations chosen to represent the story’s Scandinavian setting.

I go to work every day and I’ve got a sword and a cape. It’s hard work but a lot of fun

Kieran Bew

Kieran said: “As a local lad from Hartlepool it was a huge bonus that Beowulf was filming in the North East.

“I’ve only ever worked in the region once since I left which was for an episode of George Gently a few years ago.

“It’s tough getting back home because either I’m auditioning, rehearsing, filming or doing a tour somewhere.

“I didn’t manage to have a huge amount of time off but I managed to get a couple of Sunday dinners with my mam.”

Kieran, who broke three ribs during filming, was able to draw on his sword fencing experience for the programme’s fight scenes.

In the 90s, he was a member of Hartlepool Fencing Club which was based in the former Eldon Grove Sports Centre.

He added: “I’ve been sword fighting for a long time. I began fencing at the age of nine.

“By the time I was 14 I was on the British Squad. Now I go to work every day and I’ve got a sword and a cape.

“It’s hard work but a lot of fun. I started competitive fencing again in 2014 after many years out and managed to get my ranking up to 14th in the country.

“But I had to stop again to film Beowulf.”

In the series, Kieran stars alongside multi award-winning actor William Hurt, who will play Hrothgar, and acclaimed actress Joanne Whalley, who takes on the role of Rheda.

Kieran has also appeared in TV series Da Vinci’s Demons and The Bletchley Circle, and played a football hooligan called Ike in the 2004 film Green Street.

Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands airs on Sunday on ITV1 at 7pm.