Steven Berkoff plays King Olaf the Stout
in 11 episodes of Vikings. A massive force of Vikings threaten
Wessex and the interlocked stories cover the struggles within both
sides. The Vikings have three brothers Ubbe, Hvitserk and Ivar
each plotting. Ivar has imposed himself King of Kattegat in
The episode Baldur, series 5 episode 18 in
2019, by director (and former actress) Helen Shaver introduces King
Hvitserk visits Olaf to persuade him to help fight against Ivar.
To meet Olaf he has to strip naked and cross the snow.
Olaf initially supports Ivar and has Hvitserk tortured, but when
Hvitserk does not falter under torture Ivar agrees to join forces
Meanwhile in Kattegar Ivor shows his reign of tyranny with
people burned at the stake. The flames are reflected in an eye.
Best credit is Ancient Norse instruments
and vocals performed by Einar Selvik, Wardruna. From an
interview "Einar Selvik was involved in several well-known metal bands
before starting Wardruna, going on to contribute music to the hit TV
series Vikings, which has occupied him for the last five years."
(interview Kjersti Jåstad, translation: Francine Gorman and Daniel
Nordgård from nordvegenculture.no (here).
Vikings: What Happens in the Cave
The episode What Happens in the Cave, series 5 episode 19 in
2019, by director David Wellington.
Hvitserk and Olaf (Steven Berkoff) have joined forces and are marching
to Kattegat to fight Ivar. Elsewhere one of the three brothers,
Ubbe, is wounded in a duel and lies dying. And in Kattegat Ivar
is preparing his defences.
Olaf starts to doubt he has made the right decision, but decides to
continue to Kattegat anyway.
The episode Ragnarok, series 5 episode 20 in
2019, by director David Wellington who also directed the previous
Ivar (Alex Høgh) hears that Hvitserk has teamed up with King Olaf (Steven Berkoff) and
their armies are approaching Kattegat. "Now all my
brothers are against me".
The armies approach "Soon we will reach Kattegat where
brother will fight with brother".
Berkoff gives a Shakespearean-like speech "That will be the death of
Odin... It's only a story, stories that's all we have".
The warriors prepare and the assault of Kattegat begins.
Ivar has prepared well and various traps are in place and the assault
has failed. The attackers decide Kattegat cannot be entered, but
inside Kattegat someone open the gates and the warriors enter and
capture the fortress. Berkoff shares in the victory celebrations.
Ivar escapes to exile and Kattegat has new leaders as series 5 ends.
Best name from the credits Dialogue Coach Poll Moussoulides. He
says on speaking the ancient languages Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon "We
use linguistic historians around the world to make sure we're
authentic. There is enormous documentation about Anglo-Saxon; it's the
root of many of the words that we use in English today. We know that
Old Norse is very close to Old Icelandic. The Parisian [characters']
language, Old Low Franconian, is based on words collected from old
psalms and poems. It's the first time the language has been heard in
1,000 years." (from interview by Ileane Rudolph, TV Insider, 16 Apr 2015,
The Uncertain Kingdom, a
compilation of short films.
Steven Berkoff appears in one of
the films, Ernie, directed by Ray Panthaki.
"The Uncertain Kingdom is a short
film collection commissioned in 2019 by producers John Jencks, Georgia
Goggin and Isabel Freer... This is a state-of-the-nation anthology:
variously angry, comic and surreal... Some of the films feel redundant
or over-literal but the tone of the collection is set by its more
successful pieces... Many of the comedies took on a single, absurdist
high concept and played out its life-cycle within a 10-minute-span"
(Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 28 May 2020, click
Ernie, played by Paul Kaye, is a
school caretaker living with his dying father (Steven Berkoff) and
who's only relationship is with a Romanian male prostitute (Ossian
Berkoff gives a passable
performance as the unlikable father, but the script does not give
scope for anything else.
Cinematography was by David Foulkes
and the Editor was Liviu Jipescu.
All images from the film.