Queen Victoria – who ruled as monarch of Great Britain for 64 years – is perhaps notorious for placing a strong emphasis on morality and family values and bringing about a certain sexual repression that is synonymous with the Victorian age. Victoria herself was nothing much to look at – she was stout, dowdy and barely five feet tall!
In this context, how do you make a TV series about Victoria appealing to millennials? Well, for a starters, you cast Jenna Coleman – best known as Clara Oswald, a popular companion of Doctor Who – as the young Queen and Tom Hughes – a Benedict Cumberbatch lookalike – as Prince Albert, the Queen’s consort. Then you spice up any romances in and around the royal family and household and voila!
Considering that a real-life romance between Coleman and Hughes blossomed during the making of the series, the chemistry between the two is certainly palpable on-screen. This is crucial to the story telling as the passion of the royal couple for each other is well-documented.
Less so is the artistic license taken to represent the relationship of Victoria with Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), with the sexual tension between them somewhat preposterous.
The series rightfully revolves around Coleman’s performance and it is quite hypnotic as she expresses a vulnerable beauty underneath the potent exterior of the young Victoria. It is quite easy to get swept away by the young Queen’s challenges, with several feminist nods here and there.
Which – as amusing as it sounds – presents Victoria as a symbol of change in a period of upheaval for British society.
The series ends with the birth of the couple’s first child, Victoria (when the Queen is still only 21 years old). This is only three years into the monarch’s reign and with at least another six decades worth of stories to be told, it’s heartening that the series has been renewed for a second season.
… still there’s more …