With Vikings set to conclude when the second half of its sixth season debuts, creator/writer Michael Hirst is looking to add another historical project to his slate. It’s been announced that Hirst will be reteaming with the History Channel for a miniseries that will be centered on the bubonic plague in 17th century London; just the sort of thing the world is hungry for in the midst of a pandemic.
The Plague Year will be set in London in 1665, during one of the all-time worst outbreaks of the bubonic plague. “It’s the story of a society in turmoil, struggling to adapt to a new set of rules, finding its footing during a time of fear, paranoia, and suspicion,” reads the description. “As Londoners flee in droves, those who remain in the city, whether by choice or by fate, find their resolves tested and old wounds reopened, as they are faced with an impossible question: how do you keep going when everything around you has fallen to pieces?” Coleman Herbert, best known for Rectify and The Killing, will be penning the series with Michael Hirst executive producing. In a statement, History’s executive vice-president and general manager Eli Lehrer said:
History’s scripted programming in development embraces our roots with premium historical miniseries that resonate with our audience and complement our event megadoc content centered on big moments throughout our history. We look forward to partnering again with the brilliant Michael Hirst and teaming with Ric Burns and our very own A+E Studios to deliver content that will entertain, enlighten, and engage our viewers’ curiosity about the past. We’ve been evolving our scripted business model for the brand, with a shift in focus to our legacy in big event limited-series, including both fully commissioned and co-produced projects.
History has been charting a course away from ongoing scripted shows and more towards miniseries and limited series recently. In addition to The Plague Year, they’re also developing a series about the Donner Party from Ric Burns. Although Vikings will be coming to an end, Hirst is developing a sequel series, Vikings: Valhalla, for Netflix. The sequel series will be an explosive new chapter of the Vikings legend as it takes place “100 years after the original series concludes and dramatizes the adventures of the most famous Vikings who ever lived – Leif Erikson, Freydis, Harald Harada and the Norman King William the Conqueror (also a Viking descendant). These men and women will blaze new paths as they fight for survival in an ever changing and evolving Europe.” Netflix has already ordered 24 episodes of Vikings: Valhalla.