VICTORIA, BBC FIRST
Tuesdays 8.30pm, Foxtel
The new season of the acclaimed series Victoria goes to air next Tuesday night – following straight on from the repeat screening of series one.
Victoria draws on real-life events and the Queen’s own exhaustive diaries to paint a vivid portrait of her transformation from an impulsive eighteen-year-old to her early years as wife, mother and head of a global empire.
The second series will pick up six weeks after the first. Victoria is now a mother, trying to juggle both family and monarchy – a Victorian era working mother. She also has to deal with a young husband still trying to find his place in the monarchy, the world and the family.
Created and written by novelist Daisy Goodwin, this is a lavish costume drama that follows the young woman who became one of history’s most well-known monarchs.
Jenna Coleman – fresh from her role as Clara Osborne in Doctor Who – stars convincingly as the 18-year-old girl who has to grow up quickly and become a great queen in a society still dominated by men and with a controlling mother.
Victoria, with an impressive cast which includes Eve Myles, Tom Hardy and Rufus Sewell (whose absence from episode one of the new series caused a mini meltdown for fans in the UK at the weekend) tries to be a little Downton Abbey – focusing on both the young Queen and her staff, which gives us a wider picture of Victorian society and what was going on around the queen. It also takes a bit of license with history, including probably making a lot more out of her relationship with Lord Melbourne, her advisor and mentor than was really there.
But it is still a fascinating and lavish production that opens a window on to another time and it is an interesting contrast to The Crown which focuses on the next female monarch to reign in Great Britain – Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth. Though they are very different in tone it has been fascinating to watch how similar their husband’s stories are – despite there being a gap of 100 years between them.