A few weeks back, ITV released the last few seconds of this clip as a 10 second promo, and it didn’t come off too well. Taken out of context, Jenna Coleman’s delivery of the line “From now on….I wish to be called…..Victoria.” seemed oddly over dramatic, and surprisingly badly acted–considering how great she was on Doctor Who that is.
I’ll admit, my reaction last month was to polite ignore it. I know that Victoria is ITV’s next big hope in keeping the Downton Abbey fan crowd, a soap opera about strong women in an age when they were still repressed badly. Just a few extra steps back in the period setting, and a few steps up in the royalty hierarchy. But this didn’t look so good.
Masterpiece Theater has signed on with ITV to get first rights to air it here in the US (with the same hope of holding on to at least a fraction of the Downton audience.) Now they have released the same clip–but a far longer version, putting this moment in context. It was a wise move.
Understanding that this is her first day as Queen, that she’s just confronted an entire phalanx of men, one of whom is openly plotting to have her removed, and that this is followed by her first “appearance on the royal balcony” suddenly put the performance (and the over dramatized nerves) in context. I still think there’s a chance this could be badly cheesy, and am reserving full judgement until it airs in the fall. But it seems, at the moment anyway, that Masterpiece might have the better idea of how to sell this show to modern audiences.