He’s midway through shooting the second series and Tom Hughes has his head in his hands as key scenes from it are shared with this Q&A audience.
- Read on for reasons including details of the show’s second season
He explains later that he’s OK, he just finds it difficult to view his work when the task in hand is only halfway complete.
Hughes was shortlisted for a Best Television/Film Actor monsta last year for his work on Victoria and the year before for The Game. In 2015 we also gave his Trafalgar Studios 2 play Ticking the full 5*, so it’s fair to say that we don’t watch his work with our fingers in our ears.
Victoria writer Daisy Goodwin is also here and she says some were so convinced by Hughes’ portrayal of Prince Albert that they thought Chester-born Hughes was actually German.
‘I had a cracking dialect coach,’ says Hughes. ‘I often approach characters through the voice and the physicality. Daisy is the one who created this world. I hope I found the quiet charm of a man who is an alien in the world he finds himself in.
‘It’s easy to forget he was only 19 when we meet him and yet he has such a clear sense of who he is.’
Victoria was a teenager when she became Queen in 1837 and Goodwin was the same age when she first read her diaries while studying History at university. She was struck by their frankness including an early description of Albert ‘looking so handsome, coming in from riding and wearing nothing underneath his trousers’.
Goodwin says: ‘We’d never seen that side of her before. No-one had ever pitched that show.’
Coleman says: ‘Before this show I knew about the long period of mourning but not a lot else.’
Goodwin enthuses about the advances made during the 63 years of Victoria’s reign, from oil paintings to moving pictures, from candles to electric light.
Women didn’t get the vote until later in the 20th century, Goodwin says: ‘It’s both extraordinary and amazing to think of the soft power which she had at this time.’
We see a clip of the christening of Victoria’s first child, she had nine in 17 years, but Goodwin says the Queen wasn’t a fan of motherhood.
‘Albert was a complete new man,’ says Goodwin of the show’s social conscience. ‘He was at Victoria’s side for all of the births.’
She had to have special dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury for chloroform to be used during childbirth and it was a permission which paved the way for its use by women across the country.
Victoria’s diaries are online and they’ve been an invaluable resource for Coleman who says: ‘There’s so much material. You can go back to, say 1841, and see what she was doing on any particular day, it’s incredible.’
The second series of Victoria is expected to be aired on ITV in the Autumn.