The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth Information

The Pillars of the Earth is an eight-part 2010 TV miniseries, adapted from Ken Follett's novel of the same name. It debuted in the U.S. on Starz and in Canada on The Movie Network/Movie Central on July 23, 2010. Its UK premiere was on Channel 4 in October 2010 at 9pm. In 2011, the series was nominated at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards.


Like the novel on which it is based, the miniseries centres on the construction of a cathedral in the fictitious town of Kingsbridge during a tumultuous period of English history known as The Anarchy in the 12th century.


  • Ian McShane as Waleran Bigod
  • Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder
  • Matthew Macfadyen as Prior Philip
  • Eddie Redmayne as Jack Jackson
  • Hayley Atwell as Aliena
  • Liam Garrigan as Alfred Builder
  • Tony Curran as King Stephen
  • Sarah Parish as Regan Hamleigh
  • David Oakes as William Hamleigh
  • Robert Bathurst as Percy Hamleigh
  • Alison Pill as Princess Maude
  • Sam Claflin as Richard
  • Skye Bennett as Martha Builder
  • Emily Holt as Martha (Older)
  • Gordon Pinsent as the Archbishop
  • Natalia Wörner as Ellen
  • Anatole Taubman as Remigius
  • Donald Sutherland as Earl Bartholomew
  • Götz Otto as Walter
  • Skye Lourie as Elizabeth
  • Jody Halse as Johnny Eightpence
  • David Bark-Jones as Francis
  • Kate Dickie as Agnes Builder
  • Sidney Johnston as Brother Jonathan
  • Marl Phelan as Otto Blackface
  • Tibor Pinter as Jacques Shareburg
  • Freddie Boath as King Henry II
  • Clive Wood as King Henry I
  • Douglas Booth as Eustace
  • Matt Devere as Robert of Gloucester
  • Feodor Atkine as Abbot Suger
  • Ken Follett as a merchant


The miniseries took about a year to produce, at a cost of US$40 million. The project was funded by the German production company Tandem Communications, the Canadian film company Muse Entertainment Enterprises, and the UK and U.S. based Scott Free Productions. It was filmed in Austria and Hungary in 2009. The final aerial shot is of modern day Salisbury with a CGI cathedral combining elements of Salisbury Cathedral and Wells Cathedral, to represent the complete fictional Kingsbridge Cathedral, which were the two cathedrals which inspired Follett, during the writing of the novel.


In the first U.S. broadcast by Starz, episodes 1 and 2, as a series premiere, and episodes 7 and 8, as a series finale, were broadcast together as a single episode, using only a single introduction and ending credits. In the 2011 broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the series was re-cut into nine episodes. In December 2012, the series was shown in Australia by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in four parts at weekly intervals, combining pairs of episodes each with a single introduction.

Episode list

No. Title Directed by Written by Original airdate
ShortSummary = The succession to the crown of England is left in doubt after the heir to the throne dies in the White Ship disaster in 1120. 18 years later, in 1138, this lack of heir causes Henry I of England's daughter and nephew to compete for the throne. Church politics see Philip, a monk, elected the new prior, which leaves him indebted to Archdeacon Waleran. Lady Aliena of Shiring rejects the marriage proposal of William Hamleigh. Tom Builder and his family are left destitute when William Hamleigh dismisses them from building his house. While in the forest, they meet Ellen and Jack, a mother and son living wild in the woods. After the death of Tom's wife, Agnes, in childbirth, the group end up at Shiring Castle just as it is attacked by the Hamleighs in revenge for William's humiliation. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = Tom, Ellen and the children make their way to Kingsbridge Priory and encounter Tom's abandoned baby taken in by the monks. A fire caused by Jack destroys Kingsbridge church, giving Tom his son Alfred and stepson Jack the chance to build a new cathedral. Prior Philip learns the power of politics when he gets caught between Bishop Waleran and the Hamleighs' quest for Shiring Castle. Kingsbridge is rocked by the accusation of Ellen being a witch. William and his underling, Walter, take Aliena and Richard by surprise in a brutal attack that leaves the siblings shaken. Aliena makes a promise to her father, Earl Bartholomew. Ellen makes a daring escape with the help of Prior Philip and others. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = Aliena protests her father's imprisonment. Prior Philip and William find themselves in a standoff over access to stone in the Shiring quarry. Waleran and Regan plot to have the cathedral moved from Kingsbridge to Shiring. Jack's artistic talents take hold as he begins to carve a statue to honour the cathedral relic. King Stephen visits the cathedral worksite but collapses in a fit of terror. Aliena starts a fleece business to help earn money for Richard's expenses as a knight. William is concerned that he'll burn in hell for his many sins. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = 4 years later, in 1141, Maud is besieged at Lincoln Castle and Robert of Gloucester can't come to her aid for some time. William applies to have his father's title of Earl transferred to him and discovers a mysterious knight is also a rival for the Earldom. Meanwhile, Regan arranges to have Waleran absolve William of all past and future sins in an effort to conquer William's fear of hell. King Stephen, frightened by Jack's appearance, orders an assassin to kill him. The battle between King Stephen and Maud sees each side's leader being taken hostage. Philip is tortured into a confession when Waleran tells Maud that he is the man who betrayed Earl Bartholomew. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = Waleran and Regan engineer the prisoner exchange so that they remain on the winning side of the war. Tom wants Jack and Alfred to be friends but their rivalry over work and Aliena is too intense. Meanwhile, William decides to attack Kingsbridge to stop the fleece fair and Aliena's success. The Hamleighs and Prior Philip are granted rights to Shiring land but at a price. Alfred's jealousy of Jack reaches new heights. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = Richard returns from war to find his sister penniless and unable to support his knighthood. Alfred offers himself to Prior Philip as master builder. Aliena has to choose between her love for Jack and her oath to her father. Regan forces Waleran to speak to the King about William's long-delayed Earldom. A disaster at Kingsbridge becomes a way for Waleran to remove Prior Philip from his position. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = It is 1146. As a result of his travels, Jack has learned how to fulfil Tom Builder's dream of a cathedral filled with light. Aliena tracks Jack by following the trail of his carvings. Waleran offers Philip a new position but it means that Philip must always obey Waleran. Kingsbridge becomes prosperous again, infuriating Regan and William, who plan an attack meeting resistance from Richard, Jack and Philip. NOTE: Ken Follett has a cameo role in this episode as the merchant who tells Jack the story of his father's sailing. LineColor = 03F }}

ShortSummary = Ten years later(A.D. 1156), Jack's fixation with the cathedral leaves him little time or energy for anything else, while Aliena's fixation with the distant Earldom of Shiring has married her to Alfred, a man she hates. Waleran and Alfred develop a plot to get rid of Jack for good and it seems to be working until evidence comes to light that makes all wrongs rectified. LineColor = 03F }}

See also

  • List of historical drama films

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Pillars_of_the_Earth_%28miniseries%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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