Homeland star David Harewood has signed up to appear in ITV’s epic new 13 part drama based upon the ancient legend of Beowulf.

The British actor, will play Scorann, a ‘born warrior, fearsome fighter and man of great honour’ and joins a star-studded cast which already boasts William Hurt (Humans) and Joanne Whalley (Wolf Hall), with The Bletchley Circle star Kieran Bew attached to play Beowulf himself.

Set in the mythical Shieldlands, a place of spectacle and danger populated by both humans and fantastical creatures, ITV bosses have described the series as a Western set in Britain’s dark ages.

The drama opens with Beowulf returning home after spending many years wandering as a mercenary wanderer. When his home is attacked by the terrifying moster Grendel, Beowulf has no choice but to hunt him down.

James Dormer (Strike Back, Wallander, Outcast), who wrote the script and is executive producer, said: “Hundreds of years ago our ancestors listened to the story of Beowulf because it was a great adventure story – it scared them, thrilled them, made them laugh and cry.”

“But they also listened because they recognised themselves and their fears in it. By holding a mirror up to them this story helped define them and thus – us. So it’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to make it relevant again for a wide audience – to let them own it again. To let them see themselves in it.”

Filming is currently taking place in Durham and Northumberland.