Series two of ITV superhit Victoria has begun filming with Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes being joined on set by the iconic Dame Diana Rigg who will be a new regular cast member on the period drama.
The second series – once again written by creator and executive producer Daisy Goodwin – sees Queen Victoria face the new challenge of motherhood.
Following critical acclaim for her portrayal of the monarch both in the UK and America, Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) reprises her role alongside Tom Hughes (The Game) as Prince Albert.
Picking up six weeks after the first series ended, the second instalment establishes Victoria as a working mother, learning to balance her responsibilities as both parent and Queen. However, with Prince Albert still struggling to find a role for himself there is an inevitable power struggle between husband and wife.
Dame Diana Rigg will play the Duchess of Bucchleuch, the young Queen’s new Mistress of the Robes, who is renowned for speaking her mind. She joins returning cast members including Nigel Lindsay (Unforgotten) as Sir Robert Peel, Alex Jennings (The Lady In The Van) as King Leopold, Peter Bowles (To The Manor Born) as Duke of Wellington, David Oakes (The White Queen) as Ernest, Daniela Holtz (Circle Of Life) as Baroness Lehzen and Catherine Flemming (Tatort) as the Duchess of Kent. Below stairs Nell Hudson (Outlander) returns as Skerrett, Ferdinand Kingsley (Borgia) as chef Francatelli and Adrian Schiller (The Secret Agent) as Penge.
As well as much drama in Buckingham Palace, the series will include trips to France and Germany, touch on tragedy in Ireland and war in Afghanistan, and see Victoria and Albert discovering sanctuary in the Isle of Wight.
The eight-part series and 2 hour Christmas special has been commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill and Senior Drama Commissioner Victoria Fea, and will be executive produced by Damien Timmer (Endeavour), Kate McKerrell (Lost In Austen) and Daisy Goodwin for Mammoth Screen. It will again be produced by Paul Frift.
Creator, Daisy Goodwin said: “In series one Victoria married the handsome prince, but in this series she and Albert get down to the serious business of living happily, sometimes stormily, ever after. Victoria is the only Queen Regnant to marry and give birth while on the throne and the challenges of being head of state as well as a wife and mother are legion. In many ways Victoria’s dilemma is a modern one – how do you have a successful marriage and a happy family when you are holding down an important job. Can you really have it all?”
Executive Producer and Managing Director of Mammoth Screen, Damien Timmer added: “Series one of Victoria was a big success both at home and abroad, and it is a privilege to continue to tell the story of this fascinating woman at a particularly interesting point in her reign. Audiences will be intrigued by the meticulously researched stories Daisy has planned, brimming with scandal, romance and tragedy. At the centre of it is a beautifully nuanced study of a young marriage, and it’s a joy to watch Jenna and Tom find new layers to this iconic couple.”
The first series of the drama was ITV’s highest rating drama of 2016, receiving critical acclaim and a consolidated average of 7.7m viewers with a 29% share. It is distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment and has been sold in 350 territories worldwide. It has also proved hugely popular in the US, with the first series reaching an average audience of 6.3m viewers and the first episode drawing in a 28% share – more viewers than the first series of Downton Abbey.