Jenna Coleman: ‘Victoria is a very flawed character. She doesn’t always get things right’

Jenna Coleman talks to TV Times in depth about her starring role in ITV's new historical drama based on the early life of Queen Victoria

TV Times settle down to talk to Jenna Coleman about her starring role in ITV’s lavish new eight-part drama Victoria, which follows her early life from her accession to the throne to her courtship and eventual marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes).

But we a shock when Jenna sweeps into the room looking the spitting image of Queen Elizabeth I.

Why do you look like Queen Elizabeth I?
I’m dressed as the wrong queen so don’t get confused.”

Who are you playing?
“I’m playing Queen Victoria, but in the scene we’re shooting now she’s going to a fancy dress ball as Queen Elizabeth I.”

What do you like about Queen Victoria?
“The thing about her that I really like is she’s got a zest for life.”

What is Victoria like?
Victoria is really impulsive and she’s so unbelievably stubborn, but she’s also incredibly loyal. She has a hilarious sense of humour and when she likes someone she really likes them and if she doesn’t, they’re out!”

What is her character like to play?
“She’s wonderful to play because while on occasions she has to act formally at other times she’s actually just a young girl who wants to break out of her corset to play on the floor with her dog.”

What do you love about her?
“I love that at the same time she’s this young, naïve and artless girl, she’s also remembering her duty and being pulled back to that all the time.’

How does she feel about taking on this kind of responsibility?
She’s nervous about taking over, but also incredibly proud.”

As a virtual prisoner, what was Victoria’s upbringing like?
Victoria has been brought up at Kensington Palace and treated like a political pawn.”

Who does Victoria have back at the palace?
She doesn’t have anyone at Kensington except her dog. Her relationship with her mother has already dissolved by the time we start the series and although Conroy wants to be a father figure to Victoria, she can’t abide him.”

Victoria nicknamed the Prime Minister. What’s the relationship like between the pair?
“It’s a really fascinating relationship because Melbourne is the one person in this sea of flatterers who isn’t trying to achieve something with her other than to be her friend and to listen to her.”

Does Victoria feel anything towards Melbourne?
Her diary entries reveal that she’s obsessed with Melbourne. We explore their incredible relationship, which I don’t think I’ve seen played out in any other show.”

What do people reckon about their relationship?
Some suggest it’s love, others that it’s simply a friendship, but what’s clear is that when she becomes Queen she needs him, she really needs him.”

What is Victoria’s character like?
“Victoria is a very flawed character and she doesn’t always get things right.”

How is the piano playing going?
“The piano is going terribly. I have to play Beethoven in a week’s time and it’s a really important scene.”

What are the costumes you are going to be wearing like?
A lot of them are exact replicas of Victoria’s dresses, which is very cool.”

What was Victoria’s fashion like?
“Apparently, Victoria was kind of quite unfashionable in her way. Her ladies in waiting were the fashionable ones whereas Victoria wasn’t fussed about herself.”

What was Victoria into?
“Victoria was really into ballet and opera, so she really admired beauty but just in other people.”

Victoria had blue eyes. How you taking to wearing contact lenses?
You see in a lot of her portraits that she had these big blue piercing eyes. I’m kind of starting to prefer having blue eyes, which is worrying!”

While, on the set of Doctor Who were you looking for a completely different role elsewhere?
“No, it was quite serendipitous really how it all happened. To be honest I thought I was going to take a little break for a while after Doctor Who and then Victoria came up!”

So, what’s the appeal of Victoria?
“It’s a lovely change of scene.”


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