Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Victoria and Albert 2001 starring Victoria Hamilton, Jonathan Firth and Penelope Wilton

Victoria and Albert 2001 starring Victoria Hamilton, Jonathan Firth and Penelope Wilton
After watching the end of South Riding tonight on PBS, which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way, I popped Victoria and Albert in the DVD player. Penelope Wilton did an amazing job in both of these miniseries'. She is a true force of nature in this as Queen Victoria's mother The Duchess of Kent battling for control with her daughter, the future Queen of England.

Victoria Hamilton as Queen Victoria and Penelope Wilton as her mother The Duchess of Kent
Victoria Hamilton, as well as sharing her character's name, really seems to capture the young girl grappling with her transition from girl to Queen to wife. In one scene where she stands up to her mother the Duchess and Sir John Conroy, the grasping Irishman that The Duchess relied on, Victoria is shaking with anger and fear at her new found power. Woweee.

Jonathan Firth (yes, Colin's brother) and Victoria Hamilton in V&A
Jonathan Firth, the younger brother of the more famous period actor Colin Firth, does a fabulous job of conveying the trepidation with which he approached this marriage and his frustration to carve out a role for himself in Victoria's life and in service to his new homeland. The tenderness with which he bathes Victoria's temples on their wedding night really makes the heart skip a beat. No wonder Victoria never got over his death. They even fight with an undercurrent of sexiness. He may not have loved her at first, but they sure seemed to have developed a great relationship and this miniseries makes you feel as if you were a fly on the wall watching them fall in love. Oh, those Firth brothers!

Lord Melbourne played by Nigel Hawthorne
The supporting cast is a dream, with Nigel Hawthorne as Lord Melbourne, Victoria's first Prime Minister and advisor in her early days. David Suchet is brilliant as the Saxe-Cobourg family mentor and behind the scenes man Baron Stockmar, who pulled the strings to achieve the match between the famous pair.

Diana Rigg as Baroness Lehzen
Diana Rigg as Victoria's governess and friend Baroness Lehzen, Peter Ustinov as Victoria's uncle and predecessor King William IV (aka Billy the Sailor King) and even Crispin Bonham-Carter, everyone's favorite Mr. Bingley as Lord Frederick Standish...the list goes on and on.

So if you have never seen this wonderfully crafted miniseries, and you are still craving more royalty after that little wedding a few weeks ago, this one is a great one to see. Although the photography and costumes were better in the more recent film, The Young Victoria, this one has more heart.

For this and more of Queen Vicky, you can try these films, and by the way, I vote for Victoria as the name of the firstborn of William and Catherine. What say you to that? OK, not if he is a boy. How about Albert for a boy's name?????

Victoria & AlbertThe Young VictoriaMrs. Brown


  1. Hi Jenny!
    I'm Susan and I'm from Spain.
    I really like your blog and I found it looking for Downton Abbey, this serie is very famous in Spain and must start the 3 season.

    Congratulations for your fantastics blog and... sorry for my English...

    P.S: If she's a girl Victoria is beautiful and if he's a boy Albert its ok but Henry I also like.


  2. Hi Susan,

    Greetings to Spain from Canada! Glad to hear that you liked Downton Abbey. I had all of my friends addicted to it and they were disappointed that it only lasted 3 episodes here (they split it up differently in North America).

    We have to wait until January for the next season. Do you get it in September like in England?

    And Henry would be a great name. Same as his Uncle Harry!


  3. I didn't know about this production--how did I miss that? We see Jonathon Firth on lots of UK TV detective programmes, and he almost always plays a villain--Midsommer Murders, Inspector Lynley, sooner or later they've got Jonathon Firth and he's a baddie; if he's not actually the murderer, he's at least an unsavoury character. I'll have to find this DVD and see what kind of an Albert he makes...

  4. Hi Mary Ellen,

    I thought this one had rather slipped under the radar, so while I was still on the royal band wagon I watched it again and realized it was worth another post. I think both leads did an amazing job, and recently having watched Penelope Wilton in Downton Abbey and in South Riding, she rocks it in this one as well.

    You'll really love Jonathan Firth in this although it will be weird if you are used to him as a baddie. He starts out as a crusty Albert but he's a sweetie by the end.

  5. It's been so long since I've seen V&A and I bought the DVD a couple years ago for a rewatch. Guess it's time to take off its wrapper! I was determined to watch it after Young Victoria but got sidetracked yet I love all those films on Victoria.

    Great idea for the baby's you have their email and I'll second your suggestion!

  6. Penelope Wilton is always good! One of the best, I think. Have you seen any of Alan Bennett's monologues, "Talking Heads"? He's got a fabulous line-up of veteran actresses, including Penelope Wilton,, and he does one of the monologues himself -- I'm not sure if there are other male parts. But come to think of it, they're just, er, old, rather than costume dramas! But Penelope Wilton--! From "Talking Heads" to "Doctor Who", she's always wonderful.

    And as for Victorian Hamilton -- I recently saw her as the mother in "Toast", the BBC TV adaptation of Nigel Slater (a chef/food writer here)'s memoir "Toast" (first aired here at Christmas), which also had Helena Bonham-Carter and Ken Stott. Not the best movie in movie history, but very good in a low-key way, and I love Nigel Slater's writing (and recipes). And I figure "Toast" comes under the heading 'costume drama', as it's set in the 1960s -- or is that too recent?

  7. I have yet to see this one! Your review of it is fantastic! I didn't know Colin had a brother!

  8. I cannot thank you enough for this wonderful invention called " The Jane Austen Film Club"! I have read all your reviews and will get Victoria and Albert soon. I agree....those Firth boys are something! We are all grateful to you.


  9. Thanks Betty et al for your kind words. I am so glad there are others out there who share my taste in film!

  10. Hi there all, I found this site looking for more films starring Johnathan Firth. I love him in the 2nd-4th The Prince and Me films. I want to say I saw the Victoria and Albert film, but not sure. I will definately check it out. I love anything about the royal family. Nicholas and Alexandra too. I love the names suggested for Willam and Kate's off springs! Well happy movie watching and ta, ta, for now!

  11. @Anonymous- If you like Jonathan Firth, you will love Victoria and Albert. Tsar Nicholas II's wife Alexandra was a grand-daughter of Victoria and Albert, but you probably knew that already.

    Let's see if my predictions for the baby names are correct. Hopefully we don't have to wait long!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi, does anyone know where I can watch this online? I've been trying to watch it forever! Thanks, Jill

    1. Hi Jill. Actually I own the DVD which is well worth having. There is a used copy on eBay for a very reasonable price but I couldn't find it on Netflix or on YouTube. There are DVDs which I watch once a year or so and this one is one of them. Good luck finding it!




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