I watch ITV from time to time. Almost always on playback so I can whizz past endless and endlessly annoying advertisements. Been doing so to keep up with ITV’s version of Victoria, but I can’t help wondering what TV would do if it could not fall back on Elizabeth One, Henry Eight and Victoria Again. And again.

But the casting leaves me frowning. In a cast of  … dozens … the girl who plays Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is deliciously pretty with a lovely little retroussé nose, and she’s quite slim. As against Vic who had a little hooked nose and was plump from girlhood through to death. Far from pretty. I realise that TV has to take licence to mess about with reality from time to time, and if it were a matter of having to guess what a historical figure looked like, then help yourself. But Vic was photographed from an early age, and we know what she looked like, so nul points for the casting here. Of course, it is entirely possible, even probable that most viewers would not have the slightest idea about Vic’s appearance so accuracy would not matter. But for those who do know, it’s a distraction.

As for Prince Albert; Many times worse. Everything about the actor who plays his Highness is wrong. Especially the extraordinary floppy, Hugh Grant-style hair which, my having checked every photo of Albert I can find, is just not there. Albert went male-pattern bald at an early age. The actor (Tom Hughes) has a long, almost horsey face but quite good looking with it, while Albert had a decidedly round moon face and was no oil painting. In the most recent episode, which I watched the other day, there are at least five royal children running around, and by the time the family had reached such numbers, Albert was good and bald. Just wrong, historically, and that’s annoying. Of things wrong, there is more. Soldiers in the British Army are shown handling their rifles as if they were in the American one. Who’d notice? Me.

This is going to be a long series, if it is planned to follow the Queen into old age, but I think it is intended to be about “Young Victoria” so maybe not. But it must surely go as far as Albert’s death, by which time their eldest son was old enough to go to Cambridge where his shenanigans were supposed to have been at least partly responsible for his poor father’s early death. We’ll see. After all, this is “Victoria” as East Enders. “West Enders?”

For those young people who watch this series it is a wonderful way to learn history, which is usually taught in school with the apparent intention of boring everyone to sobs. So, on that basis alone, I’ll forgive the somewhat odd casting and try to enjoy.


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