A white ship sinks under suspicious circumstances, drowning King Henry's sole heir. His nephew Stephen takes the throne, triggering a power struggle with Henry's daughter Maud and son Gloucester and plunging England into anarchy. Aliena, daughter of the Earl of Shiring, rejects William Hamleigh's brutish proposal of marriage, sparking the young man's bitter fury. Visionary mason Tom Builder and his family search for work in the English winter and meet tragedy on the road. Meanwhile in Kingsbridge, the monastery's idealistic new prior Philip learns a dangerous secret and becomes obligated to ambitious, sinister cleric Waleran Bigod.
Watch The Pillars of the Earth - Series 1 Online Free
Episodes: 8 | Released: 2009 | Certificate: 15 | Genre: Drama | Director: Sergio Mimica Gezzan
Actors: Ian McShane , Rufus Sewell , Matthew MacFadyen , Eddie Redmayne , Hayley Atwell , Sarah Parish , Natalia W rner , Tony Curran , Donald Sutherland , Alison Pill
Tom Builder's fortunes change when he is engaged by Prior Philip to rebuild Kingsbridge's ruined church as a cathedral. Much to his shock and anguish, he discovers that the child he thought dead is actually alive, but lost to him - while his elder son Alfred clashes jealously with Tom's new partner Ellen's gifted son Jack who now carries damning secret of his own. Ellen, accused of witchcraft, shares with Tom her knowledge about Jack's father and the White Ship's sinking. Philip's plans for the cathedral are nearly destroyed by Waleran's devious political maneuvering. William Hamleigh discovers Aliena and her brother hiding in the ruins of Shiring Castle, and inflicts further revenge on the girl who rejected him and her brother.
Aliena's father The Earl is executed for supporting Maud. To prove her family's loyalty to King Stephen, she vows to fund her brother Richard's knighthood so that he can fight for the King against Maud. William and his mother Regan plot with Waleran to have the cathedral project transferred from Kingsbridge to Shiring, now in their possession. Despite their interference, Tom and Prior Philip continue work on the cathedral. Waleran arranges a visit by the King, intending to sabotage the Kingsbridge project once and for all - but Jack's newly-carved statue of the cathedral's patron saint has an unexpected and shocking effect on the King, who is plagued by madness and religious visions.
William Hamleigh and Aliena's brother Richard compete for the King's attention and the title of Earl of Shiring, in contention yet again. Meanwhile, Waleran joins forces with William in an attempt to strip Kingsbridge of its lucrative market and bring work on the cathedral to a standstill. Prior Philip, Richard, and Jack journey to Lincoln to seek justice from the King, but Queen Maud's forces attack, and in the ensuing battle each side's leader is taken hostage by the enemy. Jack is attacked by a mysterious assailant while Philip is captured by Maud's troops, falsely accused by Waleran of treason, and condemned to death.
Philip's life is unexpectedly saved by his brother, now secretary to Queen Maud. Waleran and Regan Hamleigh struggle to convince Maud that they were on her side all along, then argue before the Queen against Prior Philip as they try once more to gain control of Shiring's vital quarry and the Kingsbridge market. Returning to Kingsbridge, Jack is reunited with Aliena, inflaming Alfred's jealousy. Their rivalry breaks out into violence, forcing Tom Builder into a harsh decision: one of his sons must leave. Then William Hamleigh appears, destroys the market and murders Tom Builder.
King Stephen defeats Maud, who flees to France. Aliena and Richard, penniless after the attack on Kingsbridge and the reverses of the war, search for a way to start over. Alfred proposes marriage to Aliena, infuriating Jack, who attacks his rival and is imprisoned. Ellen helps her son escape: he makes his way to France to study architecture and seek the truth about his mysterious father. William Hamleigh marries young Countess Elizabeth for her money, and abuses her as he did Aliena. King Stephen visits Kingsbridge Cathedral, where Waleran announces the award of the Earldom to William moments before catastrophe strikes.
Exiled after giving birth to Jack's illigitimate son, Aliena takes the child to France. Miraculously she finds her lover and tells him of the collapse of Kingsbridge Cathedral. Having learned more about his real father, Jack returns home to complete Tom's work. Philip, ousted as Prior of Kingsbridge after roof's collapse, rejects an offer by Archbishop Waleran to become his archdeacon. Ellen reveals to Jack that Waleran is one of three men responsible for his father's death, and therefore wants Jack dead. William attacks Kingsbridge yet again, and when the raid fails, turns his frustrated fury on his mother.
Under Jack's supervision, Kingsbridge Cathedral nears completion. Returning from the Crusades, Richard petitions the King for his Earldom one last time. Elizabeth Hamleigh joins forces with Aliena, and in an attack masterminded by the two women, Shiring Castle falls to Richard. Cardinal Waleran arranges Alfred's death at Jack's hands so that William Hamleigh, now merely district sheriff, can execute him. The plot backfires as Ellen proves Waleran's complicity in the murder of the King's heir. Waleran and William meet justice at last, and in the cathedral that has shaped so many lives, Jack and Aliena are finally united in marriage.