The Terror: the cast of Ridley Scott’s terrifying new horror series tell stories from the set

TV's scariest new show hits UK screens tonight

If you loved Alien and Hannibal, then get ready to scream with joy because Ridley Scott is returning to the world of horror.

The 80-year-old filmmaker has executive-produced creepy new drama The Terror, which uses heightened realism to coax deeper scares from its terrified audience.

Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Simmons, the story follows the crew of a Royal Naval expedition that goes missing in the frozen Arctic. Looking for the treacherous Northwest Passage, they instead discover a frightening monster that ruthlessly targets their company.

Set in 1845, The Terror blends awesome polar landscapes with a pervasively sinister undercurrent of fear to frighten the pants of anyone brave enough to watch it.

Here’s an intro to the three main players, in the cast’s own words. 

Francis Crozier

Played by: Jared Harris

The Terror

Jared Harris as Francis Crozier in ‘The Terror’

Who?

“Crozier is the captain of The Terror and second in command of the expedition. He’s the most experienced polar explorer but because he was born in Northern Ireland the others see him as ‘not english enough’ to be really successful. As a result, he has a hard time being heard.”

What does he get up to?

“My character has a massive chip on his shoulder because of the roadblock in his career. He should have been in charge of the expedition but he’s not. He faces challenges which put a limit on his aspirations romantically and financially.”

Story from the set:

“At the end of a day shooting in Pag, Croatia, we all piled into a van to go back to the hotel. At that point in the story things had gotten hairy so the cast were all in costume and covered in blood. On the way, two cars were heading along the road in opposite directions. They were both staring at the incredible sunset and not paying any attention when they collided head on. The cast van came along behind and everyone jumped out to go and help. What they forgot was that they were all dressed in period costume looking like pale, bloody ghosts and speaking English. The people in the cars completely freaked out! They were Croatian and couldn’t understand what they were saying. They thought all their ancestors had come to help them cross over to the other side or something. It was really hilarious.”

John Franklin

Played by Ciaran Hinds

The Terror

Ciaran Hinds as John Franklin in ‘The Terror’

Who?

“I’m commander of the expedition and the two ships that go out. Franklin is an old naval man and has been on three trips to the Arctic before, one of which was a total disaster. He lost a lot of men. By leading this group, he hopes to make his name in posterity.”

What does he get up to?

“He runs a tight ship but obviously not tight enough because they all go off-piste a bit. In the beginning, Franklin manages to get the ships ice-locked due to a bad decision he took against the advice of his captains.”

Story from the set:

“It was funny because myself and Tobias worked together on Rome and we connected well there. Jared arrived on set one day and it turned out he was a real fanboy of ours because he loved Rome so much! It was so lovely to be told that. Jared’s far from a slouch when it comes to work, so to get to act with someone of his quality was just fantastic.”

James Fitzjames

Played by Tobias Menzies

The Terror

Tobias Menzies as James Fitzjames in ‘The Terror’

Who?

“James is the star of the navy. He’s had a very decorated career to date but is a polar novice. In fact, he’s never been to the Antarctic or the Arctic. His job is to support Franklin and not question him, but he feels duty bound to articulate what he sees in front of him. He is not entirely all that he seems…”

What does he get up to?

“At the start of the story James is presented as a product of the class system. He is a firm advocate of the status quo and has a belief in the superiority of Britain. It makes him a confident and arrogant man. Like a lot of the characters in the show, all those beliefs and affectations are slowly stripped away and he’s forced to encounter who he is without all of that.”

Story from the set:

“David Kajganich and Soo Hughes [co-showrunners] would tell me about a lot of cinema references they’d snuck into the mix. You had Alien at one end, then Picnic at Hanging Rock at the other. They also name-checked The Thing. It was quite sophisticated, especially the horror and gothic elements. All those things were feeding in to the aesthetic.”

The Terror premieres tonight on AMC on BT TV