A BLOCKBUSTER mini-series based on the life of William Wallace has hit problems and will not be aired this year to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Battle Of Bannockburn.

STV Productions embarked on the ambitious project to develop the historical drama, nearly 20 years after the Mel Gibson film Braveheart became a worldwide box office smash.

It was presented as an ­appropriate time to tell the story in depth, with all eyes on Scotland in 2014.

Simply titled Wallace, the series aimed to draw on the success of Spartacus and Game of Thrones and was to include the freedom fighter's battles with King Edward and his relationship with Robert the Bruce.

However, after nearly two years not a single frame has been shot for the project, being part-funded by national development agency Creative Scotland, as it emerged a new creative team is being formed.

While STV says the production is still technically in the ­development melting pot, it will not air next year and industry insiders have raised serious doubt as to whether it will see the light of day.

Executive producer Todd Berger of Creative Media said: "We've shifted gears for the moment and are trying to put a new creative team together. We will hopefully have some news in the first part of 2014."

A spokesman for STV ­Productions added: "I don't think the production team would say it is not going to happen.

"It is an idea that is still being worked on.

"I don't think it will be ­something that would be ready for this year.

"Drama productions of this scale undoubtedly take time to develop and Wallace is a project that remains on our development slate."

With costs on Wallace ­estimated at more than $1 million (£609,000) per episode, it is known that both European and American partners were being sought.

Among the actors on the ­wish-list for the title role are Gerard Butler, Dougray Scott and Kevin McKidd.

The company said it was ­working with LA-based Creative Media and Nine/8 Entertainment on the project, with Hollywood-based Scot Mick Davis writing the script.

The original idea came from Kent Dalian and Seoras Wallace, who was an advisor on Oscar winning film, Braveheart.

Talking about the project two years ago, Alan Clements, STV director of content, said the ­intention was to create "a brand" that would run for a number of series.

He said: "Braveheart was incredible, one of the top grossing films of all time and multi-Oscar-winning. I'd say that would be an inspiration rather than something we're copying."

"My mission is to set it in ­Scotland with a Scottish lead. The film that this series owes more to is not Braveheart but 300, the Spartan movie starring Butler. It is just a terrific idea.

"With all eyes on Scotland in the current political climate, this also seems to be a very ­appropriate time to tell this story in more depth.

"It is fortuitous this is ­happening as Scotland is on the cusp of voting on independence."

Gibson's historical epic about William Wallace and the struggle for Scottish independence won five Academy Awards, including best picture, in 1996.

Braveheart attempted to portray some of Wallace's early life, although the bulk of the plot followed his rebellion against the English and subsequent execution.

On release, Braveheart had its European premiere in Stirling, with the SNP using the film in a leaflet campaign at that time.

Gibson's picture was on party literature with the caption: ­"Independence - we need it more than ever."

A spokesman for Creative ­Scotland said: "Drama productions of this scale take time to develop and we understand from STV that Wallace is still on its development slate.

"Creative Scotland recoups development investment on projects either on the first day of principal photography or on the project receiving a successful commission."