Knightfall season 2: 'Darker, bloodier and messier' – Three reasons to watch History's Knights Templar drama

Filling a Game of Thrones-shaped hole in our lives, Knightfall is back with a more brutal and shocking second season and a very special new cast member – Stars Wars legend Mark Hamill.

Knightfall stars Tom Cullen and Simon Merrells are gearing up for the launch of season 2 in the UK on History channel and the duo, who play Landry and Tancrede in the Knights Templar drama, can't wait to see viewers reactions to the "brutal" new episodes.

"We have an insane amount of fighting. In episode 5, I have more fighting than I had in the entire first season," reveals Cullen.

But it's not just the action on the battlefield which will thrill old fans and new. The new season also welcomes Star Wars icon Mark Hamill to the cast and moves away from the Holy Grail storyline of season 1 for an epic battle between church and state.

Power, redemption, revenge, betrayal, family – Knightfall season 2 has it all.

BT TV caught up with Tom Cullen and Simon Merrells to find out why the latest episodes of the History channel series are your perfect summer TV fix.

Watch the Knightfall season 1 box set on the BT Player >

1. Luke Skywalker joins the Knights Templar

Mark Hamill joins Knightfall for season 2

Swapping his lightsabre for the medieval mysticism of the Knights Templar, Mark Hamill joins the cast for season 2 in the key role of Talus – a battle-hardened veteran of the crusades.

"Who isn't a Star Wars fan?" says Simon Merrells, when asked about the new arrival on set.

"It was Tom who told me about it. He said, 'you’ll never guess who is playing Talus' and I said, 'Who?' He said, 'Luke f***ing Skywalker!'

Cullen added: "He was as sweet as pie from the very first read through. He told us all that he loved the show and wanted to really make sure that he fitted in with everyone. He said it felt like he was joining a family, so it was lovely to welcome him in.

"You always worry with someone that famous that they may be a bit of a d***head, but he came in and humbled himself immediately."

[History channel: What's on and how to watch on BT TV]

[Read more: 5 secrets of the Lost Gold of World War II]

2. Darker, bloodier and messier than before

Knightfall season 2

Anyone who has withdrawal symptoms from Game of Thrones ending, will be able to get their fix of shocking TV moments when Knightfall returns with a more visceral second season.

"It's not gratuitous because you only have to open a book to read about the times and what really happened to these guys - the methods used and the reality of the situation,” said Merrell.

"Nothing in this show, no matter how brutal it is, is embellished. It is a brutal season, but rightfully so."

"There is an episode later on in the season, where I had to put my script down because I couldn’t read it anymore,” revealed Cullen.

"It made me feel physically sick. And it's pretty gross to watch too."

Merrells said that the good thing about the show being from an American network is that they're not scared to air violent scenes

"It's on at 10pm on History channel in America. They funny about sex over there, but violence is fine. No nipples, but scalping… fine."

3. Entertainment and escapism

Simon Merrells in Knightfall

What is it about the Middles Ages and the Knights Templar have such a hold over us in 2019?

Merrells believes that it is because "the tensions in the world today are still somehow rippling out” from the events we see in Knightfall.

"And people are fascinated by the resilience of the people who lived in such a brutal world and achieved so much. There's a separation. You can watch and know, 'that's not us', but you also recognise part of us in them," said Merrells.

Cullen added: “Life and death runs so closely at that time. The heightened nature of that tension just plays out as fantastic drama. It's a great way to remove yourself from whatever happened that day. A bad day at work. A row with your girlfriend or boyfriend. This world is so alien, yet, so exciting to watch – this time period is escapism."

And how much further into the story of the Knights Templar could Knightfall dig?

"Seven seasons would be great," laughs Merrells.

"We've concluded the show in a way that feels satisfying for this season," said Cullen. "But it's a very forward-looking show and we hope that people will feel breathless for more when concludes.

"We're at an exciting point where history ends and mythology begins."

Watch Knightfall if you loved...

Tom Cullen in Knightfall season 2

The Borgias, The White Princess, The Tudors, Vikings, The Last Kingdom, Game of Thrones.

Knightfall season 2 premieres on History channel (BT TV channel 327/379 HD) on Tuesday, July 2nd at 9pm.

Watch the season 1 box set on the BT Player >

How to watch History on BT TV

Knightfall season 2

History Channel is available on BT TV along with other extra channels such as H2, Crime + Investigation and Lifetime.

Watch History on BT TV channel 327 or HD channel number 379.

Download the BT TV app and watch your favourite History shows on the go >

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