Game of Thrones season 4 given HBO air date

The fantasy drama will return on 6 April with yet more gruesome scenes

The hotly-awaited fourth season of epic drama Game of Thrones has finally been given a launch date.

The TV adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, will return to screens on Sunday 6 April on US network HBO.

Last season, several high-profile characters were brutally killed off, with gruesome skewerings, decapitations and torturings aplenty.

The new run will feature a cast including Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington.

Season three ended in June 2013 after attracting record viewing figures of 5.4 million. The season finale was the most-pirated TV show of the year, with 5.9 million individual downloads recorded. Within just 24 hours, unauthorised copies had been downloaded over a million times.

Game of Thrones has amassed a dedicated fanbase since it first aired in 2011, so much so that a Hertfordshire town is set to temporarily change its name from Kings Langley to the show's fictional city, King’s Landing.

The trailer for Game of Thrones season four will debut on Sunday 12 January.