February 10, 2018

Northwest Florida Daily News-Fort Walton Beach, FL-Channels

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2 CHANNELS February 10 - 16, 2018 ON THE COVER | VICTORIA By Kat Mulligan TV Media T he British Monarchy is often explored through the cinematic lens, with the lives of numerous kings and queens regularly adapted for film and television. While the regal males of history may have a longer list of fictional representation, the lengthy legacies of Britain's queens have arguably provided far more captivating and immersive narratives. In August 2016, British television pow- erhouse ITV continued this tradition, giv- ing the life of one of the kingdom's most beloved monarchs a stunning series treatment. Thankfully, those of us in North America have also had the opportunity to fall for this majestic, spirited queen, as the story of "Victoria" continues to unfold Sunday, Feb. 11, on PBS. A part of "Masterpiece," "Victoria" is a dra- matic television series adaptation of the queen's life, following Alexandrina Victoria (Jenna Coleman, "Doctor Who") as she learns of the death of the king and her subsequent ascension to the throne at age 18. Still young, naive and not fully prepared, Victoria is de- termined to define her own reign and avoid the external influence of her mother's adviser, or others bent on persuading her. Early as- sistance from the dashing Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell, "The Illusionist," 2006) prepares her for both the court and the parliament, though it isn't long before concerns shift — though not her own — to the need for her to be wed and assisted by a husband. Enter Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Tom Hughes, "Cemetery Junction," 2010), the choice of Victoria's uncle who ini- tially seems an undesirable choice. Their first meeting is lukewarm, but as time passes, Albert is able to introduce Victoria to the world beyond the throne, providing an education on the poverty and trials of her subjects and encouraging her to be the kind of monarch who will finally be a voice for the people. With a newfound sense of maturity and resolve, Queen Victoria now finds herself a match and a king. Season 2 of "Victoria" begins a month after the birth of her first child, and as Victoria dis- covers all that has been kept from her while she has been in recovery from childbirth. Eager to regain control, she takes the neces- sary steps to reassert power while reintro- ducing herself to the British people. As the season progresses, each passing moment seems to emphasize the growing weight of royal and motherly responsibilities, as Victoria juggles family and political matters. In a "Masterpiece" PBS featurette leading up to the premiere of season 2, Coleman discussed these develop- ments. For the still relatively fresh Queen, the "honeymoon period is now over," and Victoria's life is now comprised of "balanc- ing motherhood, marriage, work, job [and] baby." A month away from her regal duties finds Victoria battling with "a bit of jeal- ousy and ... quite a bit of insecurity" with re- gard to Albert's assertion of leadership in her absence. Their relationship continues to be tested and often strained, as both Victoria and Albert delve into parenthood and continually attempt to renegotiate their roles as both spouses and monarchs. Historically accurate, visually elaborate productions of Great Britain's regal his- tory seem to endlessly captivate audi- ences. Creator and writer Daisy Goodwin's "Victoria" now joins the ranks of works by Michael Hirst ("Elizabeth," 1998) and, more recently, Peter Morgan ("The Crown"). This is by no means the first depiction of Queen Victoria on the small or large screen, how- ever. The Queen's first foray onto the big screen came through Rose Tapley's por- trayal in the silent short "The Victoria Cross," which dates back to 1912. Small-screen depictions began much later, with the first of these occurring in 1951 in an episode of the American series "Robert Montgomery Fact flirts with fiction in 'Victoria' on PBS Defining an age Eye MD 2 x 9.375

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