Last year we had a fantasy TV-watching session with Virginia Woolf to celebrate what would have been the late author’s 134th birthday. And now, as we wait for PBS original series, Victoria, to premiere this Sunday, we find ourselves pondering what shows a young Queen Victoria might binge on. Y’know, if she was still alive and had a TV.
We’ve had an advance look at the series, starring Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman in the title role, where we meet the royal as a princess on her way to becoming the Queen of England.
Based on what we’ve seen in the first episode, “Doll 123,” we have a pretty good idea of where her TV tastes would lie:
When we first meet Victoria, the young royal is advised to change her name to something more befitting a queen. Her advisor thinks Elizabeth II has a nice ring to it, but the headstrong princess politely turns down the suggestion, deciding instead to change her name from Alexandria to Victoria. Miranda Hart is so keen on her own name she called her TV series just that, Miranda. We think Victoria would enjoy watching Miranda and her antics. The British BBC star is definitely one to march to the beat of her own drum.
2. Will and Grace
When Victoria’s uncle, King William IV, passes away, it’s time for her to take the thrown. Her governess is under the impression her services will no longer be needed. But the royal assures her aid that is not the case and the governess will take on a new role — to run the household (well, palace). Clearly, Victoria is loyal. It makes us think of the relationship between Will and Grace‘s Karen Walker and her “lady in waiting” Rosario, who is far more than a maid. She is a confidant and friend, and sometimes… savior. Sure the two bicker, as seen in the below clip, but they love and need each other. Will and Grace is all about relationships, and we think Victoria would be able to relate.
3. The Paradise
Victoria became queen at the young age of 18. She lived a sheltered life for the most part, protected from the hardships of the outside world. She went to sleep a teenager and woke up a queen, and was thrusted into an entirely different life. She knew the day may come — but one can only prepare so much — and so she had to learn how to be an imposing head of state in real-time. We think Victoria would enjoy watching another young woman join the working world in The Paradise. Here, a young Scottish girl named Denise leaves her home in Scotland to look for a job at one of the first department stores in England, set, coincidentally, in a Victorian city in 1875.
4. Project Runway
We also learn from the opener that Victoria has a fresh pair of gloves every time she goes out, no mending needed. She was no prima donna, but she was… well, the queen. But in her defense, she did wear hosiery more than once. Being such the fashionista, Project Runway would definitely land on her watch-list. She’d probably appreciate seeing what goes into making the fashions, as designers compete to get their best look to the runway.
5. The Bachelor
Typically, ladies in waiting were chosen for her majesty, but this queen wanted a say in who she’d be surrounded by. Victoria picked her own crew, and watching her select her “entourage” in Victoria reminded us of The Bachelor. The women hoping to win the heart of the bachelor are actually waiting — for him to make decisions. Victoria may have some questions about what exactly is happening, with all of these women pining for one man (she had no problem in the romance department), but we think she’d enjoy the “it’s so bad, it’s good” element of the show. We’d love to sit with her through the most cringe-worthy moments and hear her commentary.
6. Plus belle la vie
We don’t meet Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) in the first installment and will have to be patient for his arrival in episode three, “The Clockwork Prince”… like Albert was (patient, that is) in winning the heart of Victoria. It was definitely not love at first meeting. The two ultimately had quite the romance and a passionate marriage, lasting 21 years, up until Albert’s unexpected death in 1861. Victoria being a romantic and having lived a life not short on drama, she may may find solidarity in watching the French soap opera Plus belle la vie. Victoria was also fluent in French, so she can help with translating.
7. Call the Midwife
The PBS TV series covers the first three years of Victoria’s reign. But as we know from the history books, she eventually had nine children. She was not only a busy head of state but a hands-on mum, too. Victoria has been given credit for helming pioneer the use of pain relief medication during labor. After giving birth to her seventh child without the aid of anesthetic, she basically was like, “Yeah, enough of this already.” Or so we imagine. Her husband Prince Albert sought the expertise of John Snow, the leading physician of the time. Victoria would probably be impressed (and possibly relieved) to see the medical advances that happened by the 1950s, illustrated in Call the Midwife.
8. The Good Wife
Like Victoria, The Good Wife‘s Alicia Florrick found herself at the head of the household. Alicia’s husband was convicted of a crime and incarcerated, so the stay-at-home mom decided to go back to work as a litigator. Victoria comes across as supportive and would cheer for Alicia as she figures out how to balance family and work life. Surely she can empathize with Alicia’s newfound responsibilities having nine children of her own — that’s a lot going on under one roof.
9. The Real Housewives
Victoria was surrounded by male advisors, so she’d probably relish in a girl’s gab session. She may also appreciate watching the backstabbing aspects of The Real Housewives play out, seeing what people are capable of. Many people around Victoria were hoping for her to the fail. But, luckily her loyalty was mostly reciprocated. We’d suggest the ladies of NYC for her introduction to the franchise. It’d be nice for Victoria to armchair travel to the Big Apple and hang with these whip-smart women — another aspect Victoria can relate to.
After binging on reality TV, she may want to give her brain a workout, the smarty that she was. The British game show QI, short for Quite Interesting, and hosted by Anglo favorite Stephen Fry, would be a fun way to do just that. We’d love to sit with her and test our knowledge, brainstorming together, then beating the celebrity guests to the correct answers.
What would you want to watch with Victoria?Read More