PBS Acquires ITV Period Drama 'Victoria'

Jenna Colman, Victoria - P 2015

Has PBS' Masterpiece found its successor to Downton Abbey?

The program announced Monday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that it has acquired ITV's period drama Victoria starring Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who). The series will launch on Masterpiece in early 2017 in the slot that Downton Abbey has called home for the past six years. Downton just kicked off its final season stateside earlier this month.

Coleman headlines the series as Victoria, who suddenly goes from neglected teenager to Queen and must prove her ability to lead her country despite her small stature. The eight-part drama follows Victoria from when she first becomes Queen in 1837 at the age of 18 through her eventual marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). The cast also includes Rufus Sewell, Alex Jennings, Paul Rhys and Peter Firth.

Victoria was created and written by novelist Daisy Goodwin (The American Heiress), who is known for her in-depth knowledge of Queen Victoria's diaries. The series is a co-production with Mammoth Screen (Poldark) and ITV, and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

"Downton Abbey has proved that millions of viewers will turn up year after year for a beautifully-crafted period drama, Victoria has it all: a riveting script, brilliant cast, and spectacular locations. And it's a true story!" Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton said in a statement. "This is exactly the king of programming Masterpiece fans will love."

Victoria joins Masterpiece's diverse slate of programming which includes such modern-day hits as Sherlock as well as other period dramas including Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge, which is also from ITV.

In addition to Doctor Who, which Coleman recently exited, her other credits include Captain America and Dancing on the Edge.