Friday, 26 August 2016

The Teen Queen Rules Supreme

A witty chronicle of how a princess grew into a queen

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176What were you up to when you were 18? In Victoria (Sunday, ITV, 9pm) we first see one woman that age, back in 1837, still playing with her dolls – so overnight becoming the monarch of the most powerful empire on the planet leaves her with a lot of growing up to do. This lavish costume drama is blessed with a great deal of wit – thanks to writer Daisy Goodwin – and a warmly winning human heart. Jenna Coleman will be well-known to viewers of Doctor Who, but here she is reborn as a resplendent star who holds the attention and manages to carry off a convincing sense of belonging to an almost unimaginably distant age.

The focus is the early years of Victoria’s reign, when ambitious politicians and courtiers crowded around this daughter of a German princess and underestimated the headstrong valour of a queen who would reign for more than 60 years. You’ll be familiar with the tale of her marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), but there’s also intrigue in Victoria’s dealings with her first prime minister, Lord Melbourne. Gossips of the time smelled a whiff of scandal in the relationship between the young monarch and the Whig grandee, and with Melbourne played by Rufus Sewell as a fine figure of a man who knows how to sit straight in the saddle, you can understand why. With acid bite added by the rancour among the servants in the royal household, here’s a saga rich with splendid entertainment above and below stairs.



Antiques Roadshow, Sun, BBC1, 8pm
A new run of the show opens in Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire, where a Shakespearean heirloom is the star attraction.

All Together Now – The Great Orchestra Challenge, Tues, BBC4, 9pm
Katie Derham presents this civilised contest – a new series seeking out the country’s best amateur orchestra.

Ingenious Animals, Thurs, BBC1, 8pm
Crafty crocs are among the clever creatures Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall finds around the world in a delightful documentary series.

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