For the first time ever on free to air, Vikings begins this Sunday, 10pm February 26, on BLAZE, Freeview Channel 83 Coming from humble beginnings, Ragnar Lodbrok divides his time between farming and splitting heads. Soon after Vikings begins, it’s clear that he’s destined for greater things. With a rebellious attitude and a desire for greener pastures, Ragnar sets off in search of riches abroad. Arriving in Britain, Ragnar and his fellow adventurers find a land ripe for plunder – and the odd spot of diplomacy. Driven by a selection of fantastic performances, notably from lead actor (and former underwear model) Travis Fimmell as Ragnar, Gabriel Byrne as ruler Yarl Haraldson and Katheryn Winnick as the warrior Lagertha. The development of characters throughout the series is really what drives it forward. Whilst Vikings has a loose attachment to history (the first Viking raid to Lindisfarne in 793), it doesn’t let facts get in the way of a good story. That said, the show’s creators have certainly done their homework, as smaller details throughout the series are refreshingly accurate. (But don’t use this as a source of revision for your History degree). As you might guess, the characters in Vikings show a general disregard for human life, favouring pursuits of the flesh instead. Vikings is certainly as violent as comparable shows Game of Thrones and Spartacus, but demonstrates significantly more restraint in depicting ‘other things’ that made these shows infamous. Although not for the faint of heart, Vikings possesses a depth of narrative, performance and production that stands with the best of TV today. What are the critics saying? Vikings has received widespread acclaim from TV and entertainment critics, with an average Metacritic rating of 71% and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%. The New York Times describes Vikings as “an entertaining educated guess about what went on during an intriguing but underexplored moment in history.” And from the blogosphere, Uncle Barky acclaims the show for its “thoroughly involving tale of betrayals, reprisals and bloodlust.” When and where can I watch it? For the first time ever on free to air: BLAZE, Freeview Channel 83, February 26 at 10pm BLAZE is a distinctly British channel with American roots. The home of tenacious individuals pushing the bounds of normality and achieving the extraordinary. BLAZE is dedicated to telling their immersive, inspiring stories. From Pawn Stars to Mountain Men, Forged in Fire to Storage Wars, BLAZE has an impressive roster of TV, with Vikings as their new centrepiece.