New Royal Navy-Themed Horror TV Show 'The Terror'

The BBC 2 drama follows the haunting activities of two ships exploring the frozen waters of the Arctic

Ridley Scott presents a new 10-part anthology drama following the perilous explorations of two Royal Navy ships voyaging to discover a passage through ice-covered seas at the top of the world.

Showing on Wednesday evenings on BBC 2, the Blade Runner director's small screen adaptation is based on the 2007 novel by Dan Simmons. 

The Terror charts the doomed events of 1845 when, under orders from the Admiralty, ships HMS Erebus and Terror were tasked to secure a route through the unchartered seas or the freezing Arctic. However, the mission was doomed to encounter endless misery in the harshest conditions known to man.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in Ridley Scott's The Terror. On iPlayer now. Credit: BBC/AMC Film Holdings LLC.

The AMC production initially aired in the US three years ago. The show boasts a magnificent cast, including Jared Harris (Chernobyl, The Crown), Tobias Menzies (The Crown), Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Paul Ready (The Dig, Bodyguard).

A horror/thriller, the anthology series sees each episode telling an independent story under the ill-fated expedition's broader narrative.

Although the drama is fiction, The Terror is based on the broader true story of the dreadful 1845 expedition by HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

In the opening episode of the series, which aired on Wednesday, we were introduced to the two ships' crews during the fading summer days of their shivering voyage around the north pole. A compass was seen twirling uncontrollably in an impressive moment for the sharp-eyed among us as it struggled to fix upon magnetic north. 

The viewer was left in no doubt that the summer's dwindling hours represented a closing-in of inevitable doom, underlined by the sudden death of two crew members in eerie circumstances. Winter was coming.

The Terror reveals two Royal Navy ships' crews struggle for survival. 

The Royal Navy crews of the ships bury a shipmate after falling ill and dying in mysterious circumstances. The Terror - BBC 2, Wednesday 9pm or available on iPlayer. Credit: BBC/AMC Film Holdings LLC.

Jared Harris plays one of the ships' captains, Francis Crozier. The English actor most recently appeared in Sky's Chernobyl, a role he received much praise in performing.

Crozier finds himself commanding the lesser of the two vessels. He holds a position of inferiority to the expedition commander, Sir John Franklin (Hinds), and his snobbish number two, Sir James Fitzjames (Menzies) - a not too dissimilar persona from his Chernobyl portrayal of Valery Legasov. 

A sea wise man, Crozier is aware of the fate that will come to pass if the ships continue their dangerous route.

Inevitably outranked, the crews sail to their destiny.

But what horrors await, and how terrible will the winter months be? Can the men of the Royal Navy survive? 

The Royal Navy sailors fight with the thick ice to find a route through for ships Erebus and Terror. Credit: BBC/AMC Film Holdings LLC.

The Terror is on BBC2 at 9 pm on Wednesdays, or all episodes are available to binge on iPlayer now.


All promotional stills are credited to BBC/AMC Film Holdings LLC.