The Pillars of the Earth has been filmed as an eight-hour limited series of for television. Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland, Rufus Sewell, Matthew Macfadyen, Sarah Parish, Hayley Atwell, Eddie Redmayne and Gordon Pinsent headline the star-studded cast for the US$40-million adaptation.
Screening schedules and release on DVD
The series premiered In Ireland on TV3 on 15 August, in the Netherlands on RTL8 on 10 October, in the UK on Channel 4 on 16 October, in Germany on SAT1 on 15 November, and in France on Canal+ on 12 December 2010.
The DVD edition was released in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States in November 2010, and in many other countries thereafter.
- In the United States, an estimated 8.5 million viewers watched the series on Starz
- In Spain, an estimated 4.15 million viewers watched the series, making it the most watched fiction programme in the history of the Cuatro channel
- In Italy, the series was the most watched episodic fiction programme in Sky’s history.
- In The Netherlands, the series has been the best series launch on RTL8 in 2010, nearly tripling the network’s average market share
- In Germany, it was seen by an average of 6.8 million viewers per night during its run on SAT1, with an average market share of 25.3%.
About the production
The series is directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Heroes, Saving Grace, Into the West). Mimica-Gezzan worked as Steven Spielberg’s first assistant director on Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List, sharing the DGA directorial awards for both films with Spielberg.
The novel has been adapted by award-winning writer John Pielmeier (Emmy winner Hitler: The Rise of Evil and Emmy nominated The Memory Keeper’s Daughter), who also plays the role of ‘Cuthbert’.
The series was produced by Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Tandem Communications (Ring of the Nibelungs, Impact, Lost City Raiders) and multi award-winning Muse Entertainment (Human Trafficking, Tales from the Neverending Story, Durham County) in association with Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Scott Free Films (CBS’s series Numb3rs, Emmy nominated minis The Andromeda Strain and The Company).
The series assembles an impressive array of veteran producing talent, including Emmy-winner David Rosemont (Into the West, Door to Door); Sir Ridley Scott, whose films include Alien, Thelma & Louise, Gladiatior, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster), Tony Scott (Top Gun, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 123), Rola Bauer (Ring of the Nibelungs), Michael Prupas (Human Trafficking), David Zucker (Numb3rs), Tim Halkin (Lost City Raiders) and Jonas Bauer (Impact), and Emmy nominated John Ryan (Hitler: The Rise of Evil, Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows).
The Salisbury Cathedral connection
The fictional 12th century Kingsbridge Cathedral in the South West of England was partly inspired by Salisbury Cathedral and in its architecture, with rows of narrow, pointed ‘lancet’ windows. Parts of Salisbury’s architecture have been filmed to be reproduced in Kingsbridge Cathedral.
A modern day connection is that the actor David Oakes, who plays William Hamleigh, was educated in the Cathedral Close and is the son of a current Salisbury Cathedral Canon. With so much linking Salisbury Cathedral and the ‘Pillars’ mini-series, the Cathedral and Tandem Communications have formed a partnership.
The 750-year-old Salisbury Cathedral is one of Britain’s finest medieval cathedrals, and has Britain’s tallest spire. Over 250,000 people visit each year.