‘The North Water’ preview: BBC’s 1850s Arctic survival drama is coming soon

It’s been over a year and a half since we last heard anything about The North Water!

Based on Ian McGuire’s critically acclaimed 2016 novel, the BBC’s adaptation was first announced way back in 2017.

The epic five-part period drama is set in the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s.

It’s described as a “gripping and original story of murder, mystery and survival.”

As the show’s makers prepare for its premiere on BBC Two in the UK this autumn, a stunning gallery of new images has been released.

Colin Farrell (Saving Mr Banks) and Jack O’Connell (Godless) are leading the cast.

They’re joined by Stephen Graham (Line of Duty), Tom Courtenay (The Aeronauts), Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake), Sam Spruell (Outlaw King), Roland Møller (Atomic Blonde), Philip Hill-Pearson (The Bay), and Kieran Urquhart (Vera).

The North Water tells the story of Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic.

But the ferocity of the elements is matched by the violence of his crew mates, with Drax (Farrell), a harpooner and distinctly brutal force of nature.

As the true purpose of the expedition becomes clear, confrontation between the two men erupts, taking them on a journey far from solid ground and beyond the safe moorings of civilisation.

Writer and director Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Weekend) has adapted McGuire’s novel.

Haigh previously commented: “The novel by Ian McGuire is a darkly brilliant piece of work, propelled by a vision of the world that is both beautiful and brutal.

“It feels bracingly modern and is piercingly perceptive about the nature of what drives us all. I feel incredibly lucky to be given the chance to bring this story to the screen and very privileged to be doing so with the BBC.”

Location filming on The North Water took place primarily in the Arctic, shooting on the frozen seas north of the Svalbard Archipelago.

The show’s cast and crew sailed as far as 81 degrees north to film sequences in the pack ice, which it’s believed is the furthest point north a drama series has ever been filmed!

The North Water will premiere in the UK this autumn on BBC Two and on BBC iPlayer.

A broadcaster in the US hasn’t yet been announced.

Ian McGuire’s novel The North Water is available on Amazon.