If you were looking for a perfect television character to star in a new eight part Sunday night drama then the ruler of an empire and a woman who had such a large family that she ended up as the ancestor of just about every other reigning house in Europe would be pretty irresistible. So it’s no surprise that Queen Victoria is to take the starring role in a new ITV drama that will be hitting our screens in 2016.
The eight-hour long drama will begin with her accession in 1837 on the death of her uncle, William IV, and tell Victoria’s story from that point onwards. Victoria, who was 18 when she ascended to the throne, was Britain’s first queen regnant in over 100 years, and this series will show both her public and private lives.
The series is being written by Daisy Goodwin who has already published several successful novels set in Victoria’s reign and who has also worked as a television producer. Goodwin said she had a long standing fascination with the queen, commenting “Victoria was the first woman to have it all.” She went on to comment that she had been intrigued by the longest reigning British monarch (for now) since reading her diaries at university, adding that “her candour and spirit make for an irresistible heroine”.
The series will be produced by Mammoth Screen who produced the BBC’s popular period drama Poldark, which has recently announced it will be running for at least four more series, and Endeavour, the ITV 1960s crime drama.
Commenting on Queen Victoria’s character, ITV’s drama director Steve November stated: “She’s a vibrant, fascinating character whose legacy lives on today.”
November went on to add that this series is “a chance to see the Victorian age through the eyes of the Queen herself for the first time”.
The new programme is set to hit our screens when the unthinkable happens and Downton Abbey really does come to an end. This won’t be the first fictional telling of Victoria to have hit the screens recently – her early life was the focus of the 2009 film, The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt as the monarch, while in 1997 Dame Judi Dench was Oscar nominated for her performance as the queen in later years in Mrs Brown. There’s no word yet on who will take on this high profile role but filming is scheduled to start in September.
By the time the show actually airs, Victoria will have lost her most famous royal record as in September this year as The Queen will overtake her as our longest reigning monarch. The retelling of this famous royal tale will come as it takes a new place in regal history books.
Photo credit: George Hayter [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons