Lavish new drama Troy: Fall of a City starts this weekend.
The eight-part series, written by The Night Manager’s David Farr, will portray the epic story of a battle between mortals and gods – and the turbulent romance which sparks the Trojan War.
Told from the perspective of the Trojan family at the heart of the siege, Troy: Fall of a City follows the love affair between Queen Helen and Prince Paris. The romance and subsequent elopement triggers a war between the Trojans and the Greeks as Helen’s jilted husband King Menelaus seeks to get his wife back.
The story is based on Homer’s Iliad, a 3,000-year-old poem. It is not dissimilar from the star-crossed romance of Romeo and Juliet (despite two and half thousand years between the two).
Troy: Fall of a City features a large cast of characters divided into the Trojan Royal Family, the Greeks and the Gods. Here’s a breakdown of who’s who.
The series begins on Saturday 17 February at 9.10pm on BBC One.
The Trojan Royal Family
Priam, King of Troy - played by David Threlfall
Priam is a warm-hearted soul who has ruled Troy since he was a young man. He is married to Hecuba and father of Hector, Cassandra, Alexander, Deiphobus and Troilus. His father nearly ruined the city but Priam saved it from destruction and Troy now flourishes. Together with his wife, Hecuba, they built up the empire from a humble Metropolis to become a powerful and wealthy city port. To most, Threlfall may be recognisable as Frank Gallagher, one of TV’s scummiest characters, from Channel 4’s comedy-drama series Shameless.
Hecuba, Queen of Troy - played by Frances O’Connor
Hecuba is Priam's wife and rules Troy with him. Although not originally from Troy she has lived in the city for 30 years and is held in high regard by the Trojans. She and Priam are very much on an equal footing, in how they rule the kingdom together. As Troy’s King, Priam is always the public spokesman, but behind closed doors she's very much his equal and they always talk things through to try and solve their many problems. Where their opinions differ they are not afraid to speak their mind, but there’s always a mutual respect between the two. O’Connor has previously starred in ITV’s Mr Selfridge and also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film for her performances in Madame Bovary and The Missing
Hector - played by Tom Weston-Jones
Hector is Priam’s eldest son, heir to the throne, and golden boy of the city. He leads the Trojan army and is a celebrated warrior, brave and honourable. He isn’t fond of Paris - the brother he didn’t know existed - when he first arrives. Hector is wary of Paris and questions his intentions.
Andromache - played by Chloe Pirrie
Andromache is the strong-willed wife of Hector. She’s principled and doesn't suffer fools gladly. Together, they are next in line to be king and queen. It was initially an arranged marriage but one which has since blossomed into a union of love. She desires children but conception has proved hard.
Paris (Alexander) - played by Louis Hunter
Alexander, also known as Paris, is the second son of Priam and Hecuba. He spent his youth as a herdsman in the mountains unaware of his true background. However, a meeting with the gods changes everything. As he is thrust into the spotlight he must quickly face up to his new responsibilities, and the consequences his actions can have on the rest of the world. He meets Helen and a romance ensues, much to the dismay of her husband.
Cassandra - played by Aimee-Ffion Edwards
Cassandra is the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She is cursed with the power to foresee the future. At Alexander’s birth she had visions of disaster and continues to have premonitions. She is considered mentally unstable and is kept hidden. Her claims of the curse are dismissed until Paris returns as an adult. Edwards has previously starred in Luther, Skins and, more recently, as Esme Shelby in Peaky Blinders
Aeneas - played by Alfred Enoch
Aeneas, played by How to Get Away with Murder’s Alfred Enoch is Hector, Cassandra and Alexander’s cousin, who comes Dardania, a region allied to Troy. He is upright, young and fearless. He has a father back at home but has lost his wife to sickness.
Helen, Queen of Sparta - played by Bella Dayne
Helen was born in Sparta and has lived there all her life. She is married to Menelaus, whose brother Agamemnon won her hand in competition, but it is a loveless match. She is free spirited, much more than the strictness of Menelaus’ court in Sparta allows. This gets her into trouble when she meets Paris, son of the king and queen of Troy. She soon realises she cannot have the love of her life without causing those around her to suffer.
Menelaus, King of Sparta - played by Jonas Armstrong
Menelaus, played by Robin Hood’s Jonas Armstrong, was born in Mycenae, which he considers the true cradle of civilization. By many accounts he's a good king: he does a lot for his people, he's well read and he's intelligent. He loves his wife Helen but is possessive and controlling. It’s fair to say he’s a better king than husband. When she leaves him and elopes to Troy he feels incredibly wronged and becomes a man who is hell-bent on revenge and on getting his wife back.
Agamemnon, King of Mycenae - played by Johnny Harris
King Agamemnon is Menelaus’ brother and the most powerful ruler of the Greek city-states. He holds huge influence in the region and is aware of Troy’s burgeoning power across the ocean. While he comes across as a villain, his story is more complex than it first appears. His actions are a combination of faith in the Gods, an element of peer pressure in advice from those around him, and the weight of the Greek nation on his back.
Odysseus, King of Ithaca - played by Joseph Mawle
Odysseus is perhaps the most cerebral of the Greek kings he wages battle against. Far more of a strategist than a fighter, he is renowned for his wisdom, strategic intelligence, and cunning. He loves his home, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus. He is a true islander, somewhat solitary, ruthless when needs must, but with a deep love of home and family. You might recognise Mawle as Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones.
Xanthius - played by David Avery
Xanthius is the man on the inside for the Greeks. He is a servant of Odysseus and travels with him to Troy to infiltrate the city. Quiet, invisible and deeply intelligent, he shares the same cunning and intelligence as Odysseus. His closest pal (and sidekick) is a dog called Keno.
Achilles, King of the Myrmidons - played by David Gyasi
Achilles is the most feared of all the Greek warriors travelling to Troy. According to myth, he is half-human, half-god, created by the union of Peleus and Thetis, a sea-nymph. He is a great warrior, almost unbeatable, but his sense of honour tips into pride and stubbornness. His friend and lover is Patroclus, another great Myrmidon warrior. They are inseparable. Gyasi is best known for his roles in Cloud Atlas and Interstellar.
Zeus, King of the Gods - played by Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Zeus is the god of storms, tumult and justice, who holds ultimate power over both gods and mortals. He chooses not to take sides in the Trojan War, despite all attempts to engage his loyalty. He insists that even the gods cannot change fate, which will decide the outcome of the war. Zeus is married to Hera and father of many gods including Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis and Hermes.
Hera, Queen of the Gods - played by Inge Beckmann
Hera, is the goddess of marriage and wife of Zeus, but they have a turbulent relationship. She is furious with Paris for not choosing her in the judgment of the goddesses and fiercely loyal to the Greeks.
Athena - played by Shamilla Miller
Athena is goddess of wisdom and war. She sides with the Greeks, angry at her rejection by Paris. In particular, she favours Odysseus and Diomedes.
Aphrodite - played by Lex King
Aphrodite is the goddess of love. She is loyal to Paris, who chooses her as the finest of the three goddesses, so she supports the Trojans in the war.
Artemis - played by Thando Hopa
Artemis is the goddess of hunting and wildlife. She supports the Trojans in the war. Agamemnon offends her and she demands a terrible price from him.
Apollo - played by German de la Melena
Apollo is the god of prophecy, plague and healing. When Apollo’s priest asks for help on behalf of his daughter Chryseis, he is quick to answer. He favours the Trojans in the war.
Hermes - played by Frances Chouler
Hermes is the messenger of the gods and is present at the judgement of the goddesses, explaining to Paris the task the gods have set him.
The series premieres on Saturday 17 February at 9.10pm on BBC One.