S37 Ep10

Wild Way of the Vikings

Premiere: 2/13/2019 | 00:00:35 |

Experience the natural world through the eyes of the Vikings. From the killer whales of the North Sea to the volcanic mounts of Iceland, see the deep history and cultural respect the Vikings had with the land and sea. Ewan McGregor narrates.

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About the Episode

Experience the natural world through the eyes of the Vikings, when nature meets history in a journey showcasing the wildlife of the North Atlantic. Combining blue-chip natural history filmmaking and dramatic re-creations, Nature travels from Norway to Newfoundland, just as the seafaring warriors did in 1,000 A.D., to get a glimpse of the Vikings’ world in the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus. It was a time when Vikings ruled the northern seas when their only compass and guide were the ravens in the sky and the killer whales pushing through the icy waters.

Witness the deep history and cultural respect the Vikings had for the land and sea, from the puffins and otters of the Scottish coast to the vast herds of reindeer in Norway to the eider duck farms of Iceland. Discover how the Vikings practiced the true spirit of the Wild Way of the Vikings – take everything that you need from nature, but value it for as long as you can. Ewan McGregor narrates.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • Archaeological records reveal that fish often made up more than 25 percent of the Viking diet.
  • The Shetland Islands are well beyond the swimming range of animals in Norway and Scotland. Some experts believe that the Vikings first brought otters to the Islands.
  • Young gannets were prized by the Vikings as tender meat. However, they are protected by dagger-like bills more than six inches long and a six-foot wingspan that can fold up and dive down to depths of 20 feet or more.
  • By the year 874 A.D., Viking colonists reached the island of Iceland. Only one other land mammal had colonized this savage landscape beforehand: the Arctic fox. Arctic foxes can exist in temperatures of -70 degrees because of their incredibly dense, warm fur. Vikings used fox fur for clothing, bedding and as a valuable trading commodity.
  • The raven is a major character in Norse mythology – Odin the all-father god was allegedly attended by two ravens called Hugin and Munin that flew around the world to bring news of the ways of men. The world’s largest crow would have been a familiar sight to the Vikings, as they are happy to scavenge amongst carcasses.

Buzzworthy Moments:

  • Reindeer are perhaps the single most significant wild animal for the early Vikings. Every part of the animal was used and hunting them was a regular activity. When spooked, the reindeer herd bands together in a swirling melee designed to confuse any predator. This phenomenon is captured on camera in a striking overhead sequence.
  • Seals were also special to the Vikings. They provided clothing, footwear and rope for rigging, as well as food. Orcas also value seals for their high nutritional value. One scene depicts just how careful and crafty an orca pod can get when hunting seals. Two members of the pod use tail slaps to flush out the hiding seals, while another pair follows silently behind to complete the capture.
  • Prized above all other birds, the white gyrfalcon was a cornerstone of the far westerly Viking economy for two centuries. Gyrfalcons are the largest and heaviest members of the falcon family and they can reach speeds of 90 mph in level flight. Historical and archaeological evidence reveals that the Vikings sustainably caught young gyrfalcons and then traded them to be used in falconry, one of their most popular sports. A reenactment scene depicts gyrfalcons in action.
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NARRATED BY
Ewan McGregor

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Nigel Pope and Jackie Savery

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Asgeir Helgestad
Justin Purefoy
Fergus Gill
Neil Anderson
Raymond Besant
Peder Jacobsson
Jeff Turner
Peter Barden
John Waters

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Stefan Forster
Thomas Vitali
Melvin Redeker
Alex Stead
Richard Shucksmith
Andrew O’Donnell
Mark Sharman
Patrick Dykstra

FIELD AND PRODUCTION TEAM
Brydon Thomason
Steven McGhee Callender
Llyod Buck

ARCHIVE
Atlantic Edge Films
Pond 5

FILM EDITOR
Nick Carline

ONLINE EDITOR
Graham Struthers

COLORIST
Iain Ballantyne

ORIGINAL MUSIC
Fraser Purdie

RESEARCHER
Fiona Donaldson

PRODUCTION MANAGER
Jackie Dorman

DUBBING EDITORS
Tim Owens
Johnny Crew
Mitch Dorf

DUBBING MIXER
Ben Peace

SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANTS
Dr James Barrett
Albína Hulda Pálsdóttir
Ester Rut Unsteinnsdóttir

REENACTORS
Draken Harald Hårfagre
Dag Inge Bakke
Saga Oseberg
Ardglass Vikings
Clanranald Trust

SPECIAL THANKS
RSPB Scotland
Emanuel Persson
Iain Mitchell

 

For NATURE

Series Editor
JANET HESS

Senior Producer
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

Coordinating Producer
JAYNE JUN

Associate Producer
JAMES F. BURKE

Legal Counsel
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

Digital Producer
HEATHER TONER

Social Media Editor
KAREN HO

Audience Engagement
CHELSEY SAATKAMP

Budget Controller
JAYNE LISI

Online Editor
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

Re-Recording Mixer
JON BERMAN

Original Funding Provided in Part by
The Arnhold Family In Memory Of Clarisse Arnhold
Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III
Kate W. Cassidy Foundation
Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust
Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao
Anderson Family Fund
Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation
Rosalind P. Walter
The Halmi Family in memory of Robert Halmi, Sr.
Sandra Atlas Bass
Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas
The Hite Foundation
Charles Rosenblum
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Series Producer
BILL MURPHY

Executive Producer
FRED KAUFMAN

A Production of MARAMEDIA LTD and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET

This program was produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC, which is solely responsible for its content.

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