My knowledge of historical events is quite shocking to say the least. Having never studied history throughout my years at school, I am definitely the worst pub quiz team member when it comes to questions about the Roman Empire or Henry VIII and his many wives. However strangely enough, I can hand on heart say I love nothing more than a good period drama and can admit I have even played the Downton Abbey board game on occasion (yes there is in fact a Downton Abbey board game). Therefore I was very excited to hear about the new ITV drama Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman.
The first episode begins with Victoria awakening to the news that her uncle has passed away, therefore allowing her to take the throne at the youthful age of 18. Coleman plays the role of Victoria superbly, portraying her innocent and naive youth, entwined with a courageous strength and sharp tongue.
Many of the other characters doubt her ability to rule the country at such a young age. Her uncle is keen to knock her off the throne and become king himself, as well as Sir John Conroy (Paul Rhys) who strongly believes that the young Queen is incapable of making important decisions and must have a man by her side to take charge.
The viewer is also given an insight into the lives of the downstairs staff at Buckingham Palace at the time. With multiple story lines and mischievous characters, this adds humour to the drama and keeps you captivated to watch more.
As the episodes progress, you follow Victoria in the many challenges she faces as a young monarch. Gaining respect from senior politicians, choosing ladies in waiting, facing political uprisings as well as the hugely pressurized task of finding a suitable husband. Coleman displays the struggle and anguish Victoria must have felt as a young Queen as well as her determination and strength of character. All of the actors display astounding talent in every scene and the intricate costumes and attention to detail with hair and styling all make for a superb watching experience. The scenery and interiors are also hugely captivating and set the scene beautifully.
In my opinion, Victoria has the perfect combination of intense plot lines and humorous twists that really make it a great period drama. I can’t wait to see what scandal is to come in the next few episodes and I can only hope that soon I will be sitting with a cup of tea playing Victoria the board game.
Image: Franz Xaver Winterhalter, at the Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace