Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend Comes to the BBC

The BBC has used the latest special effects technology to tell the story of a volcano that struck the Aegean Sea around 1620BC and is believed to be the origin of the legend of the lost city of Atlantis. The hour-long historical drama is due to be shown on BBC One on Sunday 8 May.

The volcano had been inactive for 19,000 years and then erupted, tearing apart the island of Thera (known today as Santorini) and producing tsunamis that flooded the nearby island of Crete, the centre of Europe’s first great civilisation – the Minoans. The drama Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend tells the story of the Minoans.

Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend stars Reece Ritchie as Yishharu and Stephanie Leonidas as Pinaruti.

“‘Atlantis will immerse the viewer in a world they’ve never seen before, in a brand new, exciting way,” said executive producer Ailsa Orr in the official BBC press release. “The world of the Minoans and the disaster that triggered their downfall has been created using visual effects that have to date only ever been used in Hollywood movies. It offers our audiences a unique viewing experience, the closest they’ll ever get to one of the greatest natural disasters of all time.”

The Actors in Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend

Reece Ritchie is no stranger to ancient drama having played Moha in the film 10,000 BC. The same year, he played Jake Burnett in Silent Witness. More recently, he starred in Pete Versus Life as Ollie.

Stephanie Leonidas was just sixteen years old when she played Chrissie in 2000’s Down to Earth. The following year she had a recurring role as Della Wells in Night & Day. In 2005, she starred as Helena in the film MirrorMask and in 2006 was Mina Murray in the TV movie Dracula.

Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend also stars Langley Kirkwood as Rusa, Isadora Verwey as Bansabira, Natalie Becker as Ariad, Tony Caprari as Yidini and Tom Conti as the narrator.

Special Effects in Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend

This is the first British TV drama to use the virtual backlot production technique used in the movie 300 to create the precursory earthquakes, the eruption sequence, the volcanic bombs, pyroclastic flows and tsunamis.

The entire production was shot in a studio against green screen, mixing physical with virtual (CGI) sets.

Atlantis: The Evidence

A companion documentary is due to be shown on BBC Two on Monday 9 May. Called Atlantis: The Evidence, the Timewatch special features historian Bettany Hughes who will trace the origins of the Atlantis myth and present evidence that the Thera eruption inspired Plato’s account of Atlantis.

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