BEVERLY HILLS — The Victoria age returns.
In January, PBS’ Masterpiece will begin the second season of Victoria, its series about the British queen who gave her name to the Victorian age. Jenna Coleman stars as the young Queen Victoria, and Tom Hughes plays her husband, Prince Albert.
The series, which PBS says drew better ratings in its first season than Downton Abbey did at the same point, picks up one year later. It’s now 1840, the couple has a first child, Victoria — and the Queen is about to be pregnant with her second.
Victoria, of course, went on to reign for 63 years — but Coleman needn’t worry about being aged out of the role any time soon. Creator Daisy Goodwin told the Television Critics Association Monday that she’s in no hurry to move past the very young Victoria.
“My feeling is, take it slowly. There are quite a lot of movies about Victoria in her later life coming out, and my feeling is the most interesting part of her story is her early years.”
Those early years, says Coleman, were marked by Victoria and Albert trying to figure out their roles as spouses and monarchs. “Victoria wants to be a wife to her husband. But politically, as soon as Albert begins to take any part of her role, she flips. … It’s really a clash of wills.”
But it worked. Victoria and Albert’s marriage, Goodwin says, was happy if stormy — Albert was the first British monarch in 500 years who did not take a mistress. And Victoria was faithful as well.
Victoria loved Albert, Coleman says, and loved her children, as well — all nine of them. “What she didn’t like was being pregnant.” And she was pregnant almost continually through those early years of her reign.
Still, Goodwin says, she didn’t allow pregnancy to interfere with what she saw as her royal duties. “She doesn’t want to go on the mommy track ever. She wants to go back and get back to work.”
So what’s coming, aside from babies? An appearance by Diana Rigg, big political events, many of them built around the Irish potato famine, and more personal drama.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of problems we all face today, played out in better clothes,” says Goodwin.
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