Goodwin did acknowledge that Jenna Coleman, who plays the young queen in the series, might not want to play the role into the age at which the queen “looked like Hitchcock in drag,” in the words of one TV critic. (We wondered if the same question would have been asked of a male actor playing a long-lived British king.)
If the series carries on into Victoria’s old age “we might, at some point, have to re-cast,” Goodwin said, but cautioned against assuming the series would necessarily cover Victoria’s later years.
“My feeling is, take it slowly,” Goodwin said. “There are quite a lot of movies at the moment about Victoria in later life,” she said, saying she finds the queen’s younger years more interesting, being the most powerful woman in the world navigating a tempestuous marriage. They were, Goodwin insisted, the Taylor and Burton of the 19th century.
Theirs was the first royal marriage where neither spouse had someone on the side, Goodwin claimed, adding, “he did not stray; and neither did she.”
“Was it the last?” asked Masterpiece exec producer Rebecca Eaton, the Peck’s Bad Boy of PBS.
“I could not possibly comment,” Goodwin answered cautiously.
Season 2 will, necessarily, devote a goodish amount of time on Victoria prolific child-bearing and mixed feelings about it.
She did not enjoy being pregnant, Coleman told TV critics, explaining that the queen resented her honeymoon period being interrupted that way but loved her children.
Victoria “desperately needed contraception,” Goodwin said, becoming pregnant with their second child about a month after giving birth to her first, and having five children in four years. “She really wanted to be with her handsome husband; she loves going to bed with him but hates the result,” Goodwin said, in that Victoria suffered loss of status and control while pregnant and after giving birth.
The new season also will reveal “dark secrets in the family” that “put a real strain on the marriage,” as well as “some pretty seismic political events,” including the Irish potato famine, which Goodwin described as “one of the worst genocides in history.” Viewers also will notice some striking parallels to Brexit, Goodwin said. “For audiences there are many more parallels with that time than you would expect.”
But Eaton still was perplexed by the contraception issue, and she asked Tom Hughes, who plays Albert, why he had not used it.
“I was too busy designing an armored parasol,” for Victoria, Hughes joked, which, in fact, Albert did. Among his other accomplishments, Albert also contrived a gadget to enable him to lock the bedroom door without getting out of bed, and was the first member of the royal family to install indoor plumbing and water closets in Buckingham Palace, including in the servants quarters.