Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I introduced you to Lucy Worsley, my favorite historian! Tina shared the great houses of The National Trust, in book form. Gaele reviewed two books, The Single Girl’s Calendar and The Little Cottage on the Hill. Becky reviewed The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola and compared it to the BBC adaptation. Sim gave us a first glimpse of the movie On Chesil Beach. Jean “started off the year in a very Anglo-Saxon medievaly sort of mood” and shared The Age of Bede and Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts.
I thought that I’d watched the first season of Victoria, the mini-series originally aired on ITV and rebroadcast for Masterpiece on PBS. It turned out that I only watched the first episode and, then, got confused with the film The Young Victoria which I watched a year earlier.
The confusion meant that I got to watch both the first and second seasons, in one long binge over a couple of weeks, using the PBS Passport which is a perk of my membership with my local PBS station.
I was primed to enjoy this version of Victoria because I got such a kick out of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who. Historians complain that, while Ms. Coleman is short, she’s not as short as Queen Victoria and nowhere near as plump. I found myself continually looking up the history of the events in the show (and in one case, rather ruining the plot for myself by learning something that I didn’t need to know yet). So, I suggest enjoying this as historical fiction and looking up the facts after you’ve completed the show.
My favorite episode was the second one in Season Two. It features Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer. She published a paper that included an algorithm for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (a digital, programmable computer) that he never got around to building. I got my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 1984, so Lady Lovelace has long been a hero of mine. This episode was all the more fun because Lady Lovelace was played by Emerald Fennell, who I love as Nurse Patsy Mount in Call the Midwife.
The front of Buckingham Palace looks quite different in Victoria than it does now. Now, there’s traffic and a huge statue of Queen Victoria. Apparently, then, there was green space and an arch. According to this list of locations in IMDB, the historic look was accomplished with CGI. The show is mostly filmed in Yorkshire in an enormous studio and a variety of elegant houses. This article in Architectural Digest includes a slideshow of the interior sets. The Telegraph published a great piece about filming locations, including nearby hotels to stay while visiting.
Radio Times reported on the possibility that Victoria will run for six series, with an older actor cast in the title role at about the mid-point of Queen Victoria’s long life.
Are you watching Victoria and looking forward to more seasons?