'Victoria' EP: "There Is More Than Enough Story" for a Second Season

The hourlong drama stars Jenna Coleman and follows Queen Victoria during her first three years in power.
Des Willie/ITV/PA Wire

It's been well over a hundred years since Queen Victoria ruled the throne. However, the writer behind the forthcoming series about the longtime British queen had no trouble finding first-hand accounts to pull from for the drama.

"I really didn't have to fictionalize that much because, in fact, Victoria kept such a detailed record of her own life," writer and executive producer Daisy Goodwin told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "We know much more about her than any monarch ever."

Star Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who), who plays the titular character in the series, called the former queen "one of the most prolific journal writers of history," and estimated that she had written over 162 million words in the various diaries she kept. "The resource material is you have her diaries all in her voice," she said. "You can see her passionate nature on the page."

Additionally, Coleman was able to get into character's head through looking at her old sketch work and watercolor works, which allowed her to see "what drew her eye, and also seeing the world through her eye uncensored, untouched."

However, many of Victoria's diaries were censored by her daughter after her death, which means a simple reading of her old journals doesn't tell the full story. "It was more about reading between the lines," Goodwin said. "What I've done is really to bring out what I'm convinced is actually there."

The eight-episode drama, which premieres across the pond first in September before debuting stateside on PBS' Masterpiece next year, centers on an 18-year-old Victoria who becomes queen after her father's untimely death.

"She was very ill-prepared because she had basically been held hostage by her mother," said Goodwin about her mother, who tried to keep her daughter from taking the crown. "Literally the moment she becomes queen, she's like, 'OK, I'm taking control.'"

That includes changing her name to Victoria and marrying her first cousin, a German prince, after just a few weeks of courtship. "They both come from rather dysfunctional families," Coleman said. "That's what united them together."

After tying the knot – despite the objections of the British people, according to Goodwin – the couple went onto have nine children. "They genuinely were in love," Goodwin said. "Albert was certainly the first royal man not to have a mistress."

The first season covers the first three of Victoria's 63 years in the power, which means a "there is more than enough story" for a second season and beyond. "It could potentially be a long-running thing and that’s certainly how I thought of it," Goodwin said. "I don’t want to make any assumptions."

Victoria premieres on PBS' Masterpiece in January 2017.

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