'Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands' has reportedly been axed.

Ed Speleers

Ed Speleers

The epic fantasy drama - dubbed the British version of the highly-popular 'Game of Thrones' - has been given the chop after just one series following an awkward and unexpected flop in ratings.

A source explained to The Sun newspaper: "ITV had huge hopes for 'Beowulf' ... But viewers slammed it and all the talk internally has been about what a disaster it has been. It is fair to say it won't be back."

And the news the show is expected to be dropped will no doubt come as a surprise to the cast - including William Hurt and Joanne Whalley - as they were offered the chance to sign a five-year contract, which would see them create five series, when they first jumped on board the expensive project.

Ed Speleers - who portrays Slean in the drama - said at the time: "The fact that someone wants to offer me a five-year contract ... a lot of people would look at this as being tied down but I take it as a compliment. I hope this goes on for years and years -- and that this is just the beginning."

The 12-part adventure series, which still has five episodes left to air, is loosely based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem.