Jenna Coleman made a daring move when she left behind her role as companion Clara on the British institution that is Doctor Who, choosing to pursue other projects. Clara was a beloved character by many, and one of the few constants on an ever-changing series, so it was difficult to imagine Coleman could find a more appealing role. Judging by the first look at the actress in her role as a young Queen Victoria in the ITV series Victoria, however, we can safely say that she’s moving onward and upward.
It’s almost hard to believe that the Jenna Coleman who was positively adorable with Clara’s short skirts and smiles is the same woman exuding regality as Queen Victoria. From the looks of things, Coleman is definitely straying outside the sphere of sci-fi for her first major post-Who role. She’ll be joined by Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne and Tom Hughes as the eventual Prince Albert.
Given that Queen Victoria was the longest-reigning British monarch until Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her in 2015, there’s no shortage of events for Victoria to cover. After all, the 63 years of her monarchy aren’t known as the “Victorian era” because she accomplished very little. The ITV series will run for eight installments and follow Victoria’s life from her crowning at the age of 18 through to her marriage to Prince Albert, according to Deadline.
The first episode will run for 90 minutes while the subsequent seven will be an hour each. Assuming that Victoria follows the historical timeline of the queen’s ascension to the throne and marriage, the series will chronicle Victoria from the ages of 18 – 20 or so. Considering that Victoria would remain queen until her death in 1901 after a life that included nine children, it would take a lot more than eight episodes (plus some presumably extensive make-up) to follow her entire reign.
Interestingly, one of Clara’s predecessor companions Rose Tyler joined the Doctor on an adventure that saw them saving Queen Victoria from a werewolf in Season 2 of Doctor Who. While it’s distinctly unlikely that Billie Piper and David Tennant will be making cameos in the ITV series, there should definitely be some Who fans hoping to hear Jenna Coleman drop an “I am not amused!” as Victoria. (It’s also unlikely that there will be any werewolves on Victoria). For a look at Jenna Coleman in her latest role, take a look at the first trailer for the series:
We don’t get to see much more than a confident young queen at her coronation, but the trailer is more than enough to guarantee that Victoria will be a gorgeous period piece that can showcase everything Jenna Coleman has to offer as her first non-companion role. Victoria will air on ITV later in 2016, and there’s no reason to be anything but optimistic at this point. Queen Victoria was ready for the great responsibility that lay ahead of her, and it looks like Jenna Coleman is as well.