|The Virgin Queen|
|Written by||Paula Milne|
|Directed by||Coky Giedroyc|
|Starring|| Anne-Marie Duff |
|Theme music composer||Martin Phipps|
|Country of origin||UK|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Running time||237 min|
|Production company(s)|| BBC |
Power Entertainment Media Ltd.
|First shown in||USA|
The Virgin Queen is a 2005 BBC and Power co-production, four-part miniseries based upon the life of Queen Elizabeth I, starring Anne-Marie Duff and Tom Hardy as Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester.
From her time as a young princess in her early twenties to her death in 1603, The Virgin Queen explores both the public and private life of Queen Elizabeth I (Anne-Marie Duff). [ clarification needed ] The series features a scene where a dreaming Elizabeth fantasizes about making love to Dudley. When his wife Amy (Emilia Fox) dies under suspicious circumstances, Dudley proposes to the Queen and is rejected. Upon his death, Elizabeth's affections turn to Dudley's step-son Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Wessex. However, when he is caught making plans for a coup, she has him executed.The series focuses on the internal motivation behind 25 year old Elizabeth's vow of chastity upon her ascension to the throne. As a child, she confides in her friend Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (Tom Hardy), that she wishes to never marry. Her relationship with Dudley, who would later become master of the Queen's horses, spans the four-part series and calls into question the ambiguous nature of their relations.
As queen, Elizabeth is meticulous in constructing her public image. Scrutinizing every detail, she micro-manages everything from her appearance to her attitude. Alternately chaste and flirtatious, she nevertheless eschews love in favour of England.History and politics are intertwined throughout the series, from England's defeat of the Spanish Armada to the change from a Catholic to a Protestant nation, Elizabeth uses her power and her court to maintain her will.
Co-Produced by the BBC and Power television for £9 million, The Virgin Queen was filmed at Pinewood Studios in summer 2005.Originally intended to air on BBC One in September 2005, the date would have coincided with the release of the Channel 4 two-part miniseries Elizabeth I (starring Helen Mirren). Due to the conflict, the BBC decided to delay the UK release until after the US opening in November 2005 on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre ,.
Despite being a biopic of Elizabeth's life and reign, the series presented its main character with particular interest in several themes, most notably the emotional impact of her mother's execution and her love for Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (Tom Hardy).Writer Paula Milne said of the series, "As my research started to reveal her unravelling, tumultuous relationship with Dudley, I knew I had found the spine of the story. Smart political and psychological interpretations of her life might give the drama contemporary gravitas, but its real power would lie in its emotional truth. Losing love, for whatever reason, reaches out through the centuries to all of us who have found love and lost it."
The first episode depicts Elizabeth from her imprisonment in the Tower of London by the Queen, her sister Mary I, accused with plotting the Queen's demise, to her accession to the throne following Mary's death, and her coronation. Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower, accused of participating in Thomas Wyatt's rebellion to overthrow Mary. The episode strongly hints Elizabeth's participation, though evidence of this remains highly conjectural. The episode also establishes Elizabeth's relationship with Robert Dudley, and they are shown to be greatly in love, despite Dudley being married to Amy Robsart, whom he met at the Stanfield Hall, they were married when both were 18 years old. Elizabeth's frustration at her later house arrest at Woodstock Manor is emphasised to somewhat comic effect. She is shown being held at Woodstock from her release from the Tower until her sister's death from cancer, when in reality she was only held there a year, before being recalled to London so Mary could keep a closer eye on her. The episode also depicts the legend of Elizabeth being told she is Queen of England under an oak tree, depicted as being in Woodstock but which in reality is claimed to have occurred at Hatfield House, and her utterance of the quote "This is the work of the Lord, and it is marvellous in our eyes..."
The second episode shows Elizabeth from several months to a year after her coronation, establishing herself as Queen, to the emergence of Mary, Queen of Scots, as her political rival. The episode makes much of her clandestine romance with Robert Dudley, and her resistance to marriage. Elizabeth is shown to be struggling with the adjustment to being Queen, especially in regard to Dudley. A scene shows Elizabeth dreaming of making love with Dudley, but the plot of the series follows the opinion that she resisted these urges, and remained a virgin. The episode introduces or further establishes several key characters in the story of Elizabeth's reign, including William Cecil; Amy Robsart; Francis Walsingham; Katherine Ashley; Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk (Elizabeth's cousin); and Lettice Knollys. The episode also shows Robert at his house with his wife, Amy, her health is in a poor condition, asking her husband to stay with her, but Robert replies that he must attend the court. also, the episode depicts Elizabeth's courtship from Philip II of Spain (her sister's widower) and the Archduke Charles of Austria. It also shows Elizabeth's early dealings with her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, including her plans for her to marry Dudley, as a means to secure a political union between England and Scotland, and the treason of Thomas Howard. The closing scene depicts the start of the relationship between Robert Dudley and Lettice Knollys. Midway through the episode, Elizabeth's contraction of smallpox is dramatically depicted, the death of Dudley's wife, Amy Robsart, who waited and longed for Robert, the episode shows her taking her own life, to help achieving her husband's ambitions to marry Elizabeth.
The third episode begins with Elizabeth's courtship with Francis, Duke of Anjou, and ends just following the destruction of the Spanish Armada. During her near death from smallpox in the previous episode, Elizabeth is shown wearing the ornate red wig or hairpiece she has become famous for. The episode depicts Elizabeth's courtship of Anjou as nothing more than politics, and a wish for an heir, and suggests that she harboured little real affection for him, though like many of her courtships, this remains ambiguous. The key point of character drama in this episode is Elizabeth's discovery of Robert Dudley's marriage to Lettice Knollys, in that scene, Dudley echoed the phraseology from his dead wife, Amy's earlier letter, he says, "I mortgaged my life in the hope that someday we'de be together. I have stood by and watched while others fall at your feet. flattering you vanity." upon which she is shown flying into a grief-fuelled rage. The illness Dudley suffered prior to his death is also depicted from fairly early on, though Elizabeth remains ignorant of his affliction. Great focus is also placed on Elizabeth's turmoil over the situation with Mary, Queen of Scots, who is executed towards the end of the episode, an act which Elizabeth is shown expressing great remorse in private. The impending invasion of the Spanish Armada is dealt with fairly rapidly, the primary scene concerning the Armada being Elizabeth's encampment at Tilbury, where she gives an invigorating speech. These scenes are intercut, and immediately followed with her grief and heartbreak over the death of Robert Dudley, and her brief seclusion during the celebrations over the Armada's defeat. The episode ends with her first encounter with Robert Devereux. The ending makes much of the theory that Devereux was actually the son of Robert Dudley by Lettice Knollys, instead of the result of her first marriage to Walter Devereux.
This episode shows Elizabeth in the twilight of her reign. Anne Marie Duff and Sienna Guillory are given ageing makeup in this episode, accentuating their age in comparison to the previous episodes, marking them as enduring 'relics' of the past. The episode revolves mainly around Elizabeth's relationship with Robert Devereux as her court favourite, and the machinations for his advancement by his mother Lettice Knollys, the Queen's former handmaiden. The enmity between Elizabeth and Lettice is also emphasised, and the plot deviates from established history by showing that Elizabeth eventually did meet with Lettice before her death, albeit briefly and without exchanging words. Devereux is held as a pawn between the two women, his love for Elizabeth on one side, his devotion to his mother on the other, the pressure of which causes him great turmoil, bordering on mental instability, culminating in his attempt at rebellion towards the end of the episode. One haunting scene in the episode shows Devereux walking in on a half-dressed Elizabeth, and his shock when he sees the Queen as decrepit and old, without her wig or make up. Elizabeth is the one remaining relic of the England she once knew, most of her friends and trusted advisors having been replaced by the next generation. The emphasis on Devereux takes away somewhat from the political problems Elizabeth was facing at the time, such as with Spain, France and Ireland, as well as significant problems in England itself with high taxes and the failure of the crops, though these events are made frequent reference to. The episode concludes with Robert Devereux's execution and Elizabeth's demise, including her encroaching senility and dementia with age, and her depression over Devereux's death. In these scenes, she is shown delivering her famous Golden Speech to Parliament. Her death is depicted in a more dramatic fashion than in reality, with her refusing to lie down in fear that she would not stand again. Elizabeth is also reminiscing of her life; walking through a crowd of people when her father was on the throne with someone saying "bastard", being informed that her sister Mary is dead, her beloved friend and chief-lady of the bedchamber Kat Ashley smiling at her, William Cecil, her one true love Robert Dudley smiling at her and her fateful exclamation of "I will have one mistress here, and no master! Do you hear me?!" Finally, she is drawn from her reminiscing when she apparently suffers a stroke and collapses, with her advisers, courtiers and ladies-in-waiting rushing to assist as she dies. The episode ends with William Cecil's son, Robert, preparing for the accession of Elizabeth's successor, James I. He is seen discovering that Elizabeth added a clasp to the ring worn by the sovereign; opening it, he discovers that a portrait has been hidden. The episode ends with Robert speaking "It is the whore Anne Boleyn; her mother."
Described by its producers as "... [a] regal portrait ... steeped in historical accuracy", the series followed the general flow of history, but deviated from historical truth in numerous ways, such as:
|Role||Portrayed by||Appears in episodes|
|Queen Elizabeth I||Anne-Marie Duff||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester||Tom Hardy||1, 2, 3, 4 (cameo and flashback only)|
|Amy, Lady Dudley||Emilia Fox||2|
|Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex||Dexter Fletcher||1, 2, 3|
|Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk||Kevin McKidd||1, 2|
|William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley||Ian Hart||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury||Daniel Evans||3, 4|
|Queen Mary I||Joanne Whalley||1|
|Lettice Knollys||Sienna Guillory||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Sir Francis Walsingham||Ben Daniels||2, 3|
|Lord Chancellor Gardiner||Robert Pugh||1|
|Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex||Hans Matheson||3, 4|
|King Philip II of Spain||Stanley Townsend||1|
|Kat Ashley||Tara Fitzgerald||1, 2, 3, 4(flashback and cameo only)|
|Sir James Melville||Ewen Bremner||2|
|Mary, Queen of Scots||Charlotte Winner||3|
|Sir Walter Raleigh||Derek Riddell||3, 4|
|Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devonshire||Sebastian Armesto||4|
|Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans||Neil Stuke||4|
|Francis, Duke of Anjou||Matthias Girbig||3|
|Jean de Simier||Enzo Cilenti||3|
|Reginald Pole||Michael Feast||1|
|John Brydges||Tony Guilfoyle||4|
|Henry Bedingfeld||Pearce Quigley||1|
|Sir Horace Alsop||Karl Theobald||4|
|Earl of Southampton||Shaun Evans||4|
|Thomas Phelippes||Vincent Franklin||3|
|Gilbert Gifford||Stephen Walters||3|
|Christopher Hatton||Jason Watkins||1, 2, 3|
|John Dee||Alan Williams||1|
|Thomas Wyatt the Younger||Bryan Dick||1|
|The Virgin Queen: Music From The Original Television Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||2 February 2006|
|Studio||Hear No Evil|
|Label||BBC Worldwide Ltd.|
The original score was composed by Martin Phipps and features vocals by the Mediæval Bæbes and the London Bulgarian Choir. The score won an Ivor Novello Award for "Best Television soundtrack" on 24 May 2007.The lyrics on the track played during the opening sequence were derived from a poem written by Elizabeth I.
All lyrics are written by Martin Phipps (adapted) except where noted; all music is composed by Martin Phipps except where noted.
|1.||"The Virgin Queen"||Mediæval Bæbes||2:08|
|2.||"The Work of the Lord"||Mediæval Bæbes||3:20|
|3.||"One Mistress"||Dessislava Stefanova||The London Bulgarian Choir||2:32|
|4.||"Miseria Nomine"||Mediæval Bæbes||1:05|
|5.||"A Legacy of Comfort"||3:35|
|6.||"Essex"||Ruth Barrett||Mediæval Bæbes||3:31|
|7.||"Lilly White, Comely Queen"||Katharine Blake||1:14|
|8.||"La Volta"||Martin Phipps & Ruth Barrett||1:49|
|10.||"God Breathed"||Dessislava Stefanova||The London Bulgarian Choir||1:30|
|11.||"I've Come For Her"||The London Bulgarian Choir||3:41|
|12.||"The Queen Lives"||Mediæval Bæbes||2:19|
|13.||"Remember Me"||Dessislava Stefanova||Dessislava Stefanova||2:25|
|16.||"Say It's Not So"||Mediæval Bæbes||2:45|
|17.||"I'll Be Blunt, Blount"||Mediæval Bæbes||1:10|
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG, PC, was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599. In 1601, he led an abortive coup d'état against the government and was executed for treason.
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, was an English statesman and the favourite of Elizabeth I from her accession until his death. He was a suitor for the Queen's hand for many years.
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Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, KG, was an English nobleman and general. From 1573 until his death he fought in Ireland in connection with the Plantation of Ulster, where he ordered the Rathlin Island massacre. He was the father of Elizabeth I's favourite of her later years, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.
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First Aired: November 13, 2005