Classic TV, True Story

Maddy’s Pick For The Weekend 3: Elizabeth R (1971, TV Miniseries)


In the mood for a good miniseries to enjoy this weekend? Then look no further then this British classic. The series focuses on the life of Queen Elizabeth I, Britain’s legendary Virgin Queen.

The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth had a rocky start in life, but bided her time, won the hearts of her people and went on to become one of the greatest monarchs this country has ever known.

Power struggles, murder, intrigue, treachery, love, courage and a strong female lead, this series has it all. One of the best and most accurate depictions of the Tudor dynasty ever seen on screen.

Glenda Jackson gives the performance of her life as Elizabeth. Over the years many other fine actresses (Bette Davis, Flora Robson, Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett)have portrayed Elizabeth on screen; none of them has ever matched Glenda’s unforgettable performance, she doesn’t just portray Elizabeth, she becomes Elizabeth. Glenda does a superb job here, both as the terrified young princess fighting for her life and reputation, and as the fearless, strong, passionate and undisputed ruler of England, sacrificing her own happiness to give everything she has to her country.

The series focuses on her entire reign (1558-1603)which would become known as The Golden Age. We see the key events that shaped her life and reign, we also follow her friendship/relationship with Lord Robert Dudley(Robert Hardy)the love of her life who sadly never claimed her heart the way her country did. Jackson and Hardy make me feel for this couple so much, it would seem the pair really loved each other, and Dudley allowed Elizabeth to be herself when she most needed to, but there was to be no happy ending or marriage for them despite their attachment.

Excellent performances from the entire cast, stunning costumes, and probably what is the most accurate depiction of the Tudor court we will ever see. The series also doesn’t shy away from the brutality of this period, horrific executions, murder, selfishness which leads to betrayal and murder, it is hard for me to accept that such terrible things were so easily accepted.

My favourite episodes are The Marriage Game, Horrible Conspiracies, The Lion’s Cub and Shadow In The Sun.

A perfect choice to watch over this cold weekend. If you’re a fan then please share your thoughts. If you’ve never seen this, I hope you check it out and enjoy it.



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