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Steven Berkoff  television 2020s


Vikings title 

Steven Berkoff The Vikings 

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 Wessex.

Vikings: Baldur

The episode Baldur, series 5 episode 18 in 2019, by director (and former actress) Helen Shaver introduces King Olaf (Berkoff).  Hvitserk visits Olaf to persuade him to help fight against Ivar.  To meet Olaf he has to strip naked and cross the snow.

Vikings with Hvitserk naked

Olaf initially supports Ivar and has Hvitserk tortured, but when Hvitserk does not falter under torture Ivar agrees to join forces against Ivar.

Steven Berkoff Vikings

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.

Vikings Steven Berkoff and Marco Ilsø

Olaf starts to doubt he has made the right decision, but decides to continue to Kattegat anyway.

Steven Berkoff Vikings

Vikings: Ragnarok

The episode Ragnarok, series 5 episode 20 in 2019, by director David Wellington who also directed the previous episode.

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".

Vikings Alex Høgh as Ivar

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".

Vikings Steven Kerkoff King Olaf the Stout

The warriors prepare and the assault of Kattegat begins.

Vikings -preparing for battle

Vikings battle

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.

Vikings Steven Berkoff King Olaf the Stout

Ivar escapes to exile and Kattegat has new leaders as series 5 ends.

Vikings warrior

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, here).

Vikings Steven Berkoff credit

Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom  Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom - Ernie

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 here).

Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom - Ernie

Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom - Ernie

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 Perret).

Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom - Ernie

Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom - Ernie

Berkoff gives a passable performance as the unlikable father, but the script does not give scope for anything else.

Steven Berkoff - The Uncertain Kingdom - Ernie

Cinematography was by David Foulkes and the Editor was Liviu Jipescu.

All images from the film.

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