The Bastard Executioner
|The Bastard Executioner|
|Created by||Kurt Sutter|
|Theme music composer||
|Composer(s)||Bob Thiele Jr.|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||55–60 minutes|
|Original release||September 15 – November 17, 2015|
The Bastard Executioner is an American historical fiction drama television series, created by Kurt Sutter and aired on FX from September 15, 2015 to November 17, 2015. On November 18, 2015, Sutter announced that FX had cancelled the series after one season.
Set in early 14th century Wales, Wilkin Brattle, a Welsh knight in the army of King Edward I of England is betrayed by an Englishman who has a lust for power and who leaves him for dead. When he is near death, a child apparition implores Brattle to lay down his sword and follow the path of a different man. Later in life, Wilkin lives as a married peasant farmer, awaiting the birth of a child. His new life of peace is shattered by the unbearable taxes assessed on the peasants by none other than "Baron" Erik Ventris, the man who had betrayed Wilkin. Pressured by his fellow villagers, Wilkin leads a raid on the Baron's tax collector, which leads Ventris to the revenge killing and burning of all the women and children in Brattle's village. Brattle's raiders seek battle with the Baron ending in the death of Ventris and the massacre of the Baron's troops. Revenge, however, is not complete, as the raiders want all the soldiers who slaughtered their kin to die by the sword. Brattle assumes the identity of a journeyman punisher (executioner), injected into the plot just moments before the Baron's death. Brattle, aka Gawain Maddox, enters Castle Ventris with the intent of identifying the remaining murderers so his fellow raiders can exact revenge. Castle intrigue traps Brattle in his new alias and disdainful profession. Brattle must lead this double life while trying to determine whether this new path is the one the apparition has chosen for him, or if he has been led astray. The plot partially involves the fallout from the Madog ap Llywelyn Welsh rebellion.
- Lee Jones as Wilkin Brattle / Gawain Maddox the Executioner
- Stephen Moyer as Chamberlain Milus Corbett
- Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Baroness Lowry "Love" Aberffraw Ventris
- Kurt Sutter as Ludwig Von Zettel, better known as The Dark Mute
- Sam Spruell as Toran Prichard / Marshal the Soldier
- Katey Sagal as Annora of the Alders
- Darren Evans as Ash y Goedwig
- Danny Sapani as Berber the Moor
- Timothy V. Murphy as Father Ruskin
- Sarah White as Isabel Kiffin
- Sarah Sweeny as Jessamy Maddox
- Ethan Griffiths as Luca Maddox
- Elen Rhys as Petra Brattle
Special guest stars
- Brían F. O'Byrne as Baron Erik Ventris, lord of the fictional Barony of Ventrishire.
- Matthew Rhys as Gruffudd y Blaidd, known as "The Wolf". He is the leader of a growing rebellion against corruption and an ally to Wilkin and his friends. He is also a half-brother of the Baroness.
- Kyle Rees as Calo Caine
- Richard Brake as Baron Edwin Pryce
- Ed Sheeran as Sir Cormac
- Martin McCann as Randolph Corbett
- Alun Raglan as Jonas the Collector
- Alec Newman as Leon Tell
- Ross O'Hennessy as Locke
- Tim McDonnell as Huxley
- James Rousseau as Denley
- Scroobius Pip as Scribe Master
- Jasmine Green as Market Girl
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|"Pilot"||Paris Barclay||Kurt Sutter||September 15, 2015||2.11|
|3||"Effigy / Ddelw"||Paris Barclay||Kurt Sutter & Charles Murray & Nichole Beattie||September 22, 2015||1.09|
|4||"A Hunger / Newyn"||Ciaran Donnelly||Curtis Gwinn||September 29, 2015||1.26|
|5||"Piss Profit / Proffidwyr Troeth"||Kari Skogland||Roberto Patino||October 6, 2015||1.12|
|6||"Thorns / Drain"||Billy Gierhart||John Barcheski & Kurt Sutter||October 13, 2015||0.94|
|7||"Behold the Lamb / Gweled yr Oen"||Ashley Way||Carly Wray & Kurt Sutter||October 20, 2015||0.83|
|8||"Broken Things / Pethau Toredig"||Ciaran Donnelly||Ryan Scott & Kurt Sutter||November 3, 2015||1.08|
|9||"The Bernadette Maneuver / Cynllwyn Bernadette"||Paris Barclay||Robert Patino & Curtis Gwinn & Kurt Sutter||November 10, 2015||0.82|
|10||"Blood and Quiescence / Crau a Chwsg"||Ashley Way||Kurt Sutter||November 17, 2015||0.87|
The Bastard Executioner, the first pilot for Imagine TV with FX Network, stemmed from an idea by Grazer: "I find the executioner to be an incredibly fascinating and provocative character", he said. "He deals with the highest order and the lowest order in the culture. It's about as morally complex a profession as you can imagine". Grazer pitched the idea to 20th Television chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. The two, along with Fox21 president Bert Salke, suggested Sutter as writer. After meeting with Grazer and taking some time to contemplate the idea, Sutter built a whole world around it, and the pitch was taken to FX.
Sutter explained the writing process and obstacles for the show on his vlog: "It's sort of fun of jumping into completely different world, completely different time, completely different vernacular, it's a toughest thing for me right now with the pilot is the story is all broken on my board here but you know trying to find different rhythms of speech and vernacular". Sutter held his fans hostage who were eagerly waiting for his new project. "I'm not writing it on period speech just because there's no actual recording of what that vernacular sounded like with intonation and everything."
Paris Barclay, who directed 15 episodes of Sons of Anarchy, directed the pilot and was executive producer. Charles Murray, a writer/co-executive producer of the last two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, was a writer/co-executive producer on the series. Nichole Beattie was another Sons of Anarchy alumna on the staff of writers. She has also written extensively for AMC's The Walking Dead and Rubicon.
Barclay left for the UK on January 2 to work on casting and location matters. Sutter stayed in the US to finalize the script. He joined Barclay a few days later in the United Kingdom. The draft of the pilot script was sent to the studio executives at FX on the 7th of January. During mid-January Sutter and Barclay visited several possible shooting locations in Wales, including Caerphilly Castle and Fforest Fawr.
Filming began on 23, 2015. The show's producers spent 10 months considering locations in Wales with the help of the Welsh Government’s Wales Screen service, which encourages film and television productions to use locations, crews, and facilities throughout Wales. The project was one of the first major productions to move into Pinewood Studios' new facility in Cardiff.
Reviews for The Bastard Executioner were polarized, with praise being directed toward the action sequences, writing and acting, and criticism toward the pacing, limited development, and excessive violence. It holds a rating of 49% (rotten) on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 53 critics. The website's consensus reads: "Kurt Sutter's The Bastard Executioner doesn't want for dark thrills, but it unfortunately has more enthusiasm for brutality and gore than necessary narrative focus." Out of 37 reviews in Metacritic, the show holds a rating of 55.
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- Metcalf, Mitch (November 17, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update: 11.17.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
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- "Katey Sagal Set For Kurt Sutter’s New FX Drama Project ‘The Bastard Executioner’". Deadline.com. November 17, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-01.
- "'Sons Of Anarchy' Writer-Producer Charles Murray Signs With Paradigm". Deadline. December 8, 2014.
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- Kelly, Chris (3 September 2015). "American TV giant Fox provides huge boost for long-vacant Valleywood film studios". walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 22, 2015). "Kurt Sutter Drama 'Bastard Executioner' Picked Up To Series At FX". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
- "The Bastard Executioner: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
- "The Bastard Executioner". Metacritic. Retrieved September 24, 2015.