The Winter King cast: Eddie Marsan, Iain de Caestecker and Ellie James star in ITVX drama

Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicle has been adapted for television

The Winter King, the exciting new take on Arthurian legend, premieres on December 21, on ITVX.

Set in the fifth century, when Britain was a chaotic land of warring tribes, the series follows Arthur Pendragon – an outsider who will become a king.

The series is based on the Warlord Chronicles, by popular historical novelist Bernard Cornwell. His books have long been popular with TV producers: he’s the mind behind ITV‘s Sharpe and the BBC‘s The Last Kingdom.

So who plays Arthur, Merlin and Guinevere? Here’s a rundown of The Winter King’s cast, and where exactly you’ve seen them all before.

Iain De Caestecker as Arthur in The Winter King
Iain De Caestecker as Arthur The Winter King (Credit: ITV)

Iain De Caestecker is the legendary warrior Arthur Pendragon

Scottish actor Iain De Caestecker is Arthur Pendragon, the illegitimate son of High King Uther who is exiled after a terrible defeat by the Saxons.

Iain is best known as Leo Fitz from Marvel‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a role he played through seven seasons. Introduced as the team’s technology specialist, Fitz found love, trauma and evil alter-ego The Doctor over the course of the show.

Soap fans might recognise him from somewhere else, however. Iain was the first actor to play Adam Barlow, the son of Mike Baldwin and Susan Barlow, on Coronation Street. He played Adam from 2001 until 2003, before Samuel Robertson was cast in the role in 2004 (which he still plays to this day).

After his stint on Corrie, Iain appeared as Darren in Lip Service (2010), Paul Roberts in BAFTA-winning drama The Fades (2011), and the titular vet in Young James Herriot (2011). He was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for his work as James Herriot.

This wasn’t his only Scottish BAFTA nod; in 2013, Iain starred in romcom Not Another Happy Ending, which earned him a second nomination. That same year, he also appeared in psychological horror In Fear and black comedy Filth.

The 35-year-old later starred in Ryan Gosling‘s Lost River (2014) and J.J. Abrams horror Overlord (2018).

More recently, Iain appeared as young Douglas Petersen in the BBC One adaptation of David Nicholls’ Us (2020), as well as alongside Hugh Laurie in political thriller Roadkill.

And just last year Iain starred as emergency call handler Gabe in BBC thriller The Control Room.

The Winter King cast: Eddie Marsan as Uther in episode 2
The Winter King’s Eddie Marsan as Uther in episode 2 (Credit: ITV)

Eddie Marsan is High King Uther in The Winter King cast

Award winning-actor Eddie Marsan plays the ailing Uther, High King of Britain, King of Dumnonia and father of Arthur Pendragon.

Eddie, 55, is well known for his performances both at home and abroad across TV and film.

On the small screen, Eddie starred in Showtime’s Emmy-winning crime drama Ray Donovan from 2012 to 2020. He played Terry Donovan, the brother of Ray (Liev Schrieber). In 2015, Eddie played Gilbert Norrell in the critically acclaimed Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Earlier in his career, he made appearances on The Bill (1992-1996), Casualty (1996), EastEnders (1996), Grange Hill (1996-1998), Judge John Deed (2002), Silent Witness (2004) and Law and Order: UK (2009-2010).

In the 2020s, Eddie’s starred in The Pact (2021) and The Power (2023). He’s also had major roles as real-life forensic psychologist Paul Britton in Deceit (2021) and as John Darwin, the prison officer who faked his own death, in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe (2022).

If you’ve not come across Eddie on TV, you’ve almost definitely seen him in a film. Eddie’s appeared in big name hits such as 21 Grams (2003), Vera Drake (2004), V for Vendetta (2006), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Hancock (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), War Horse (2011), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and The World’s End (2013).

He played the leading role of John May, a lonely man whose job it is to find next-of-kin of deceased in Kennington Town, in 2013’s Still Life. The 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival Award for Best British Actor came his way for his performance.

He also starred in 2016 war romance The Exception, alongside Jai Courtney and Lily James.

The Winter King cast: Ellie James as Nimue
The Winter King cast: Ellie James as Nimue (Credit: ITV)

Ellie James as Nimue

Relative newcomer Ellie James plays Nimue, a priestess who claims to have the ability to see gods.

Ellie’s first big role was in season two of Strike, playing the drug addict girlfriend of Cormoran Strike’s (Tom Burke) villainous stepfather Jeff Whittaker (Matt King), in 2018.

She later appeared in BBC Two international crime drama Giri/Haji in 2019.

Next up, Ellie struck gold with an appearance in the critically acclaimed Michaela Coel black comedy I May Destroy You, in which she played publishing assistant Sion.

Roles in War of the Worlds (2021), I Am (2021) and Red Rose (2022) followed, as well an episode of Doctors (2022).

In 2023, Ellie’s already appeared in Netflix crime thriller Bodies, before taking up a leading role in The Winter King.

The Winter King cast: Nathaniel Martello-White as Merlin
The Winter King cast: Nathaniel Martello-White as Merlin (Credit: ITV)

Nathaniel Martello-White as Merlin

British actor Nathaniel Martello-White plays Merlin, a famous druid and associate of Arthur. However, Merlin has an agenda of his own.

The 40-year-old’s early roles include Trial and Retribution (2007), Doctors (2007), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2008), Law and Order: UK (2010), Misfits (2012), Death in Paradise (2013) and Silk (2014).

He starred alongside Idris Elba in political drama Guerilla on Sky Atlantic in 2017, as well as alongside Sarah Lancashire in Kiri in 2018.

2018 was a big year for Nathaniel. He also starred in Netflix drama Collateral, playing DS Nathan Bilk, the police partner of Carey Mulligan’s DI Kip Glaspie. He also played a lead role in American mystery thriller One Dollar, which told the story of a multiple homicide in small town rust belt America.

Silent Witness and I Hate Suzie followed in 2020. In the latter, Nathaniel played Carter Vaughn, the man pictured with Billie Piper‘s Suzie Pickles in a compromising position, prompting the events of the drama.

And finally, in 2021, Nathaniel starred alongside The Winter King co-star Eddie Marsan for the first time in Deceit. He played the fictional character of Baz, the handler for Sadie (Niamh Algar) – the (also fictional) woman who honeytraps murder suspect Colin Stagg.

The Winter King cast: Jordan Alexandra as Guinevere
The Winter King cast: Jordan Alexandra as Guinevere (Credit: ITV)

Jordan Alexandra as Guinevere in The Winter King cast

Jordan Alexandra stars as Guinevere, the beautiful and incredibly ambitious exiled Princess of Henis Wyren.

Up-and-coming actress Jordan, 30, has played small roles in big dramas Bridgerton (2020) and Grantchester (2021). She’s also appeared on the silver screen in Stephen Graham drama Boiling Point (2021) and with Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).

She also played the role of Gabi in black comedy Mammals in 2021, which starred James Corden as a betrayed chef.

In 2023, she’s starred in thriller BlackBits, romantic drama Surprised by Oxford and sci-fi thriller The Shift.

The Winter King cast: Stuart Campbell as Derfel
The Winter King cast: Stuart Campbell as Derfel (Credit: ITV)

Stuart Campbell stars as Derfel

Scottish-born actor Stuart Campbell plays Derfel, the narrator of Bernard Cornwell’s The Winter King. Derfel is a young warrior who looks up to Arthur.

Aged just 25, Stuart’s not been on the acting scene long, but he has bagged roles in Suspects (2016), Doctors (2016), Outlander (2017), Clique (2018) and London Kills (2019).

His longest recurring role came in 2017, when he was cast in Jacqueline Wilson adaptation Hetty Feather. Playing the role of gardener Jack, he appeared regularly through seasons 3 to 5, before guest-starring in the final season.

In 2021, Stuart played Alex Chambers, one of the abducted sons of British Ambassador Emma Chambers (Fiona Shaw) in crime drama Baptiste. Last year, he played the major role of Second Lieutenant Bill Fraser in SAS Rogue Heroes, alongside Connor Swindells and Jack O’Connell. The series has been renewed for a second series, with Stuart confirmed to return.

So far in 2023, he’s appeared as PC Duncan Mcinney in Paramount+ thriller The Chemistry of Death.

The Winter King cast: Daniel Ings as Owain
The Winter King cast: Daniel Ings as Owain (Credit: ITV)

Daniel Ings as Owain

Daniel Ings is Owain, the champion of Dumnonia, a world-class warrior who struggles with his loyalty.

You might recognise Daniel, 38, from his role in Netflix comedy Lovesick. He played Luke, the reckless but loyal best friend of Dylan (Johnny Flynn) and Evie (Antonia Thomas).

He’s also appeared on Peep Show (2010), Endeavour (2014) and Mount Pleasant (2014).

Roles in You, Me & Them (2015), Vera (2016) and Agatha Raisin (2016) followed, before playing Head of Generic Comedy and Drama Matt Taverner in BBC mockumentary W1A (2014-2017).

He played Michael Carter, Prince Philip’s private secretary, in The Crown‘s first two seasons in 2016-2017.

And in 2018 Daniel played the main role of lawyer-turned-barman Andy in James Patterson TV adaptation Instinct, which ran for two seasons.

The 2020s have gone from strength to strength for Daniel. After a role in Britbox Original Agatha Christie drama Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (2022), he picked up the role of Cob Betterton – the husband of Billie Piper’s Suzie Pickles – in I Hate Suzie. That’s right, both of Suzie Pickles’ lovers are in The Winter King’s cast.

And one final irresponsible playboy role to round things off: Daniel also played Dan, love interest of Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) in Netflix’s Sex Education.

The Winter King cast: Valene Kane as Morgan
The Winter King cast: Valene Kane as Morgan (Credit: ITV)

Valene Kane plays Morgan in The Winter King cast

Northern Irish actress Valene Kane plays Morgan, Uther’s illegitimate daughter, Arthur’s sister, and a priestess of Merlin.

Valene is best known for her role as Rose Stagg, a victim of Jamie Dornan‘s Belfast Strangler Paul Spector, in The Fall. A former lover of Spector’s, she recognises similarities between him and the Strangler – prompting Spector to abduct her. The series won critical acclaim and multiple awards, as well as receiving two BAFTA nods.

After The Fall, Valene starred as DS Lisa Merchant – an officer investigating missing person Ivy Moxam (Jodie Comer) – in Thirteen.

She appeared alongside Jamie Dornan again for period drama Death and Nightingales in 2018.

Valene starred as Olivia Collins in Australian comedy The Other Guy from 2017 to 2019.

Next stop for the 36-year-old was Sky’s Gangs of London in 2020, in which she played Jacqueline Robinson, the daughter of criminal Wallace family.

And earlier in 2023 you might have caught her stint as Angela Mackle in new Irish police drama Blue Lights.

The Winter King cast: Simon Merrells as Gundleus
The Winter King cast: Simon Merrells as Gundleus (Credit: ITV)

Simon Merrells as Gundleus

English actor Simon Merrells plays Gundleus, the power-hungry and savage king of Siluria.

Simon, 58, is no stranger to the historical fantasy drama. He’s best known for his portrayal of Spartacus’ nemesis Marcus Crassus in the final season of Starz hit Spartacus: War of the Damned (2013).

More recently, he’s had roles in Amazon fantasies The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022) and Good Omens (2019).

He also starred alongside Mark Hamill and Tom Cullen in Knightfall, in which he played the Templar Tancrede, between 2017 and 2019.

He’s also played Julius Caesar in Legends of Tomorrow (2017-2018), Julian in Dominion (2015) and Hugh in The Tomorrow People (2013-2014).

The Winter King cast: Steven Elder as Bishop Bedwin
The Winter King cast: Steven Elder as Bishop Bedwin (Credit: ITV)

Steven Elder as Bishop Bedwin in The Winter King cast

Yorkshire actor Steven Elder plays Bishop Bedwin, the kind and well-liked Bishop of Dumnonia.

Steven started his career on Coronation Street in 1997, when he played DI Fox, a detective investigating Anne Malone’s icy death. He later appeared in three other soaps: EastEnders (2001), Holby City (2000-2011), and Doctors (2000-2019). While he played multiple roles in Doctors, his most prominent was as Reverend Gordon Clement (2013-2019). The reverend was a love interest of Winifred Tembe (Lorna Laidlaw), and the pair eventually moved away together in 2019 as part of Tembe’s exit storyline.

He’s played small roles in Judge John Deed (2006), NCIS (2007), Heartbeat (1999-2008), The Bill (1998-2009), New Tricks (2009), Lost (2010), Upstairs Downstairs (2012), The Tunnel (2013), Silent Witness (2015), Vera (2017) and Endeavour (2018).

In 2019, he starred in Brad Pitt-produced historical epic The King for Netflix.

In the 2020s, he’s starred as DCI Robert Pearson in The Bay (2021) and as Phillip Stretton in Grace (2021). He was Tim Milne in 2022’s A Spy Among Friends, alongside Guy Pearce and Damian Lewis.

Already in 2023 he’s appeared in Carnival Row, as well as on the latest season of Vigil.

The Winter King cast: Andrew Gower as Samsun
The Winter King cast: Andrew Gower as Sansum (Credit: ITV)

Andrew Gower plays Sansum

Merseyside-born actor Andrew Gower takes on the role of Sansum, a Catholic priest and novice to Bishop Bedwin.

Andrew’s big break came in 2012, when he was cast in the recurring role of vampire Nick Cutler in Being Human. That same year, he also appeared alongside James Nesbitt in medical drama Monroe, as well as an episode of Misfits.

More recently, you might have seen the 34-year-old in Carnival Row, alongside Orlando Bloom. In the series, he played Ezra Spurnrose from 2019 to 2023. He also played Detective Peter Andrews in You in 2023.

On top of all that, Andrew also played royalty in Outlander, as Prince Charles Stuart, from 2016-2022.

Andrew’s CV also includes Miss Scarlet and the Duke (2020), Poldark (2019) and The Village (2014).

The Winter King cast: Aneirin Hughes as Gorfydd
The Winter King cast: Aneirin Hughes as Gorfydd (Credit: ITV)

Aneirin Hughes is Gorfydd in The Winter King cast

BAFTA-winning Welsh actor Aneirin Hughes is Gorfydd, the king of Powys, the enemy of Dumnonia.

Aneirin, 65, has had a long and decorated career, with Welsh TV fans most likely to recognise him. He started his career on Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm in 1994. In 1997, he won a Best Actor BAFTA Cymru for his performance as Delme Davies in Welsh language film Cameleon.

He went on to star in The Bill (1999), Take Me (2001), Family Affairs (2004), Spooks (2005) and Doctors (2006).

He had recurring roles in Judge John Deed (2005-2007) and Young Dracula (2006-2008). However, he’s probably most famous for portraying Chief Superintendent Brian Prosser in BBC Four’s Hinterland from 2013 to 2016.

More recently, he’s appeared as solicitor Tom Howells in Welsh thriller Keeping Faith (2017-2021).

The Winter King cast: Ken Nwosu as Sagramor
The Winter King cast: Ken Nwosu as Sagramor (Credit: ITV)

Ken Nwosu plays Sagramor

Ken Nwosu portrays Sagramor, a veteran warrior who is one of Arthur’s closest allies.

While Ken’s early acting career is mostly impressive theatre roles, he hit our TV screens in 2018 and hasn’t looked back. That year he appeared as Leo in Settling, Max in Killing Eve and Puck in Upstart Crow. He also played Paul Hastings in Ewan McGregor-starring Disney film Christopher Robin.

In 2019, he had roles in Catastrophe and Sticks and Stones. In 2020, he played Ristridin in Netflix fantasy The Letter for the King.

Most recently he’s starred in Hollington Drive (2021) and Rain Dogs (2023).

The Winter King cast: Emily John as Ceinwyn and Iain De Caestecker as Arthur
Emily John as Ceinwyn and Iain De Caestecker as Arthur (Credit: ITV)

Who else is in The Winter King cast?

My Policeman star Emily John portrays Ceinwyn, Gorfydd’s daughter and a highly sought-after princess of Powys.

Irish-Italian actress Tatjana Nardone plays pagan warrior Ladwys. Tatjana’s biggest role to date was in 2016 as Emilia in Medici, the political period drama set in Florence. She’s since appeared in 2019’s Heirs of the Night and season one of Sky drama Devils (2020). She also appeared in 2022 thriller State of Consciousness.

Billy Postlethwaite, sometimes credited as William Postlethwaite, plays the shrewd warrior-king Cadwys. Billy’s played multiple roles on Holby City (2014-2019), as well as appearing on hit drama Chernobyl (2019). He also played Isaac on Beforeigners (2021) and Hank on Silo (2023).

The Winter King premieres on ITVX on Thursday, December 21.

The Winter King | Trailer

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Susan Brett
TV Writer