UK period drama Victoria gets a Free to Air premiere on ABC in late October.
The 8 part series stars former Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman as a young Queen Victoria and Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne.
The series launched to mostly good review in the UK last year. Season 2 is currently screening in Australia on BBC First.
Victoria, created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin, marks the start of a landmark account of the life of one of history’s greatest monarchs. With cinematic production values and an ensemble cast of award-winning talent, 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. Rich and character-driven, stretching from the upper echelons of the royal court to the below-stairs staff, this is a story of passionate affairs, power struggles and unrequited love, at the centre of which stands the new Queen – a strong, complex, and wilful woman who must, somehow, become an enduring icon.
Episode One: When eighteen-year-old Victoria (Jenna Coleman) becomes Queen, her mother, the Duchess of Kent (Catherine Fleming), led by her advisor Conroy (Paul Rhys), circle around the young monarch, itching to seize power. Hating Conroy and exasperated by her mother’s dependence on him, Victoria shuns them both. Below stairs, the servants adjust to their new boss – Victoria’s trusted governess Lehzen (Daniela Holtz). Jenkins (Eve Myles), the Queen’s dresser, is incensed to learn that Lehzen has appointed her an assistant without consulting her: the mysterious Skerrett (Nell Hudson).
Victoria copes with the unknown with the help of her Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell). They are enchanted by each other: Victoria by the older man’s erudite wisdom, and he by the young Queen’s irresistible guilelessness. Gossip erupts over the closeness of their relationship and Melbourne, fearing scandal, retreats, leaving Victoria prey to Conroy, who seizes the chance to take control and undermine the Queen.
Determined to bring him down, Victoria latches on to a piece of gossip that could ruin both Conroy and in the process her mother’s Lady in Waiting Lady Flora. Against Melbourne’s express instructions, Victoria rushes into an ill-considered accusation and the glory of her coronation is abruptly curtailed when she learns she has covered the crown in scandal. Conroy waits in the wings for Victoria to abandon hope so that he can establish a Regency, but Melbourne’s confidence in the Queen protects her from despair.
Directors: Sandra Goldbacher, Tom Vaughan, Oliver Blackburn; Executive Producers: Dan McCulloch, Damien Timmer, Daisy Goodwin; Producer Paul Frift; A Mammoth Screen & Masterpiece co-production
7:30pm Saturday October 28 on ABC.