The Pillars of the Earth

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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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 - Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder

    Episode 1

    A double-bill opens this epic realisation of Ken Follett's hit book.

    A white ship sinks under suspicious circumstances, drowning King Henry's sole heir.

    His nephew Stephen takes the thone, triggering a power struggle with Henry's daughter Maud and bastard son Gloucester, and plunging England into anarchy.

    Aliena, daughter of the Earl of Shiring, rejects William Hamleigh's brutish proposal of marriage, sparking the young man's bitter fury.

    Visionary mason Tom Builder and his family search for work in the English winter, but meet tragedy on the road.

    In Kingsbridge, the monastery's idealistic new Prior, Philip, learns a dangerous secret and becomes obligated to ambitious, sinister cleric Waleran Bigod.

    However, Tom Builder's fortunes change when he is engaged by Prior Philip to rebuild Kingsbridge's ruined church as a cathedral.

    Much to his shock and anguish, he discovers that the child he thought dead is actually alive, but lost to him. And his elder son, Alfred, clashes jealously with the gifted son of Tom's new partner Ellen - Jack - who now carries a damning secret of his own.

    Ellen, accused of witchcraft, shares with Tom her knowledge about Jack's father and the white ship's sinking.

    Philip's plans for the cathedral are nearly destroyed by Waleran's devious political maneuvering.

    William Hamleigh discovers Aliena and her brother hiding in the ruins of Shiring Castle, and inflicts further revenge on the girl who rejected him and her brother.

The Pillars of the Earth synopsis

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

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