EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel has ordered its second original scripted miniseries, about Scotland’s fight for independence from English rule in the 13th century. Scott Free Productions — the production house behind Discovery’s first original scripted mini, Klondike — is developing the new series chronicling William Wallace and Robert the Bruce’s bloody campaign for Scotland’s independence. The untitled project will be based on historical books by Nigel Tranter, including The Wallace and The Bruce Trilogy. Wallace, you’ll recall, was the title character played by Mel Gibson in the 1995 flick Braveheart. History wonks who did not look so favorably on some of the liberties taken with that Oscar-winning film, will like Discovery Channel’s rendition better, as it’s expected to stick more to the facts.
In round numbers: King Edward I of England invaded Scotland and imposed English rule. Edward I’s reign over Scotland was never peaceable and Scottish discontent was widespread. In 1297, the country erupted in an open revolt as national resistance developed into a war of independence during which William Wallace and Robert Bruce played leading roles. Wallace spearheaded Scotland’s offensive against the English and his martyrdom paved the way for eventual success. Since his death at the hands of the English in 1305, he has gained worldwide rock-star status in some circles and has been the subject of numerous literary works and some stabs at dramatization. Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s “hero-king,” meanwhile, was descended from Scots, Gaelic and English nobility. His grandfather, Robert Bruce ‘The Competitor’, was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne and Robert the Bruce fought tirelessly fought for Scotland’s independence from England through the reigns of Edward I and Edward II.
Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker will serve as exec producers for Scott Free Productions on The Untitled William Wallace And Robert The Bruce Project, which, we’re happy to report, is a working title.