The Pillars of the Earth

Episode Guides

Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Hayley Atwell and Donald Sutherland star in this adaptation of Ken Follett's 12th-century story of love, war, religious strife and power struggles

About the Show

Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Hayley Atwell and Donald Sutherland star in this adaptation of Ken Follett's 12th-century story of love, war, religious strife and power struggles

Series 1 Summary

Set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles in 12th-century England, this adaptation of Ken Follett's novel is an enduring love story entwined with political turmoil

  • The Pillars of the Earth - Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder

    Episode 1

    A white ship sinks in suspicious circumstances, drowning King Henry's sole heir. His nephew Stephen takes the thone, triggering a power struggle and plunging England into anarchy.

  • The Pillars of the Earth - Tony Curran as King Stephen

    Episode 2

    Aliena's father the Earl is executed for supporting Maud. To prove her family's loyalty to King Stephen, she vows to fund her brother Richard's knighthood so that he can fight against Maud.

  • The Pillars of the Earth - scenes of battle

    Episode 3

    Prior Philip, Richard and Jack journey to Lincoln to seek justice from the King, but Queen Maud's forces attack, and in the ensuing battle each side's leader is taken hostage by the enemy

  • Alison Pill as Queen Maud

    Episode 4

    Prior Philip faces execution, Waleran and Regan struggle to convince Maud of their loyalty and Alfred and Jack's violent rivalry forces Tom Builder to make a harsh decision

  • The Pillars of the Earth

    Episode 5

    King Steven defeats Maud while Alfred proposes marriage to Aliena, sparking a violent clash with Jack. William Hamleigh's fortunes seem to be improving, then disaster hits Kingsbridge.

  • Ian McShane as Waleran Bigod

    Episode 6

    In the final episode, Aliena takes her child to France, exiled after giving birth to Jack's illegitimate son. There, she finds her lover and tells him of the collapse of Kingsbridge.