In honor of 'Victoria' in the U.S., 3 more depictions of Queen Victoria to watch
You may have heard of this queen coming to conquer American TV after she conquered British TV.
Debuting on PBS's Masterpiece at 9 p.m. Jan. 15, Victoria is lavish and sexy if a bit repetitive on subplots about marriage, family strife and fitness to rule.
It'll doubtless have you swooning over Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) — something you won't get from other adaptations of Victoria's life — as well as Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) and quietly cheering for a resolute Victoria (Jenna Coleman). And, hopefully, running a little to Wikipedia to read up on the veracity of the events it depicts, something I always do when watching adaptations of historical events. Something else you can do is look to other adaptations of the same events for comparison.
If your interest in Queen Victoria is piqued, here are three more depictions to watch; you can order all from Amazon or borrow from your local library system.
The Young Victoria
This 2009 movie penned by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes stars Emily Blunt as, well, the young queen. It starts in the later years of the reign of Victoria's uncle King William IV with the politics that preceded her ascension in 1837, but more than anything else it focuses on her early romance with Albert (Rupert Friend, Wickham in 2005 Pride and Prejudice and Peter Quinn on Homeland). The movie, which won an Oscar for costuming, had some serious backing, reportedly being pitched by Sarah, Duchess of York (Prince Andrew's ex-wife), and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Fellowes reportedly strove to stick very close to reality in the script, but it still contains inaccuracies, notably in the movie's puzzling endpoint.
Victoria & Albert
This 2001 miniseries goes much, much further than The Young Victoria in explaining the queen's life, from its opening scenes of Albert visiting Victoria before she was queen to Albert's death decades later. The miniseries stars Victoria Hamilton, who of late has played another queen (the Queen Mother, to be precise) on Netflix's The Crown, and Jonathan Firth as Albert. The A&E-BBC series can't stand up to the others in production quality, but I'd honestly tell you it's my first thought when it comes to Victoria-Albert romances.
On the other end of the spectrum from The Young Victoria is 1997's Mrs. Brown, which is set beyond the death of Albert. Judi Dench was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Victoria in her later years, a reclusive widow drawn out by Scottish servant John Brown (Billy Connolly). Whether or not Victoria and Brown had a romantic relationship is a point of debate and intrigue (she was, after all, buried with a lock of his hair and his mother's ring), and the movie is also less than explicit about the nature of their relationship, but it's incredibly endearing either way.