Monday, 12 September 2016

Victoria: Brocket Hall

"I am plagued by uncles!"

We begin with Chartist demonstrations juxtaposed with Vicky's upbeat speech; all is not well in our Vicky's kingdom. And worse, Uncle Leopold, on holiday from being King of the Belgians, has arrived to nag Vicky to marry her first cousin- yes, first cousin, uuurgh- Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. And, in commoner news, Mrs Jenkins' nephew is to be hung, drawn and quartered for demonstrating with the Chartists, which seems a bit harsh. Still, at least Vicky has got Conroy to bugger off by simply taking advantage of his greed.

The episode asks the question of whether Vicky should marry or not; the shadow of Elizabeth hangs over the episode, with the subtext very much losing the "sub" when Vicky and Lord Melbourne dress up as Elizabeth and Leicester. But she is slowly persuaded that she must marry to perpetuate the Royal bloodline. It sounds trite but is well-written and acted to give the impression of substance.

As well as finally acknowledging the sexual tension between Vicky and Lord Melbourne, the episode tacitly acknowledges the trivialities of Vicky's vicissitudes in comparison to the lives of those among the Chartists. Importantly, it still lets her be likeable as she commutes those horrible traitors' deaths to transportation to Australia; Mrs Jenkins will be relieved. Throughout it all Coleman successfully walks that fine line between naivety and sheer ignorance sufficient for Vicky to retain our sympathies.

We end, however, with Albert's arrival...

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