Victoria Is Strong, Stubborn, And Successful: Just What We Need

Victoria On MASTERPIECE on PBS *SPECIAL TWO-HOUR PREMIERE* SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2017 AT 9PM ET Continues Sundays, January 22 – February 19, 2017 at 9pm ET Season Finale on Sunday, March 5 at 9pm ET Episode One – "Doll 123" Sunday, January 15 at 9pm ET As a new queen, the young Victoria struggles to take charge amid plots to manipulate her. Victoria’s friendship with the prime minister leads to a crisis in Parliament. Shown: Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria (C) ITV Plc


Written by Rachel Buchman, GPB

If she needs advice, she’ll ask for it.

This is what the newly appointed Queen Victoria insists to her advisors in the first episode of PBS’ new series Victoria, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for television. As the change in the United States Presidency approaches, people ask themselves “How much of the Inauguration and political coverage do I feel comfortable watching, if at all?”. Many thought that it was time to elect the first female leader of the United States, and those hopes were dashed when Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. With Donald Trump moving into The White House, women look to other sources for inspirational leadership.

With this in mind, Victoria is a worthy addition to any television schedule on Sunday nights. Jenna Coleman (of Doctor Who fame) stars as the titular queen, who upon being informed her uncle, the King, has died, takes no time in adapting to her new role as monarch of one of the greatest nations in the world. The men in parliament doubt her abilities and wonder if her age and sex makes her qualified to be in charge, and those close to her plot to control her every decision. Thus in the first episode, Victoria makes it clear that she’ll look for assistance as she sees fit.

Which she does. After all, she must understand the full responsibilities of being a queen. She pledges her trust to Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (played by Rufus Sewell), a prominent leader of the Whig party whose days as Prime Minister are numbered. Members of the Tory party are displeased, as is Sir John Conroy (played by Paul Rhys), who has formed a close relationship with Victoria’s mother (the Duchess of Kent) and would wish to see her rule as Regent instead of her daughter, so he can influence her as he sees fit. But Victoria Creator, Executive Producer, and Writer Daisy Goodwin chooses to show a blossoming infatuation Victoria has with Lord Melbourne, something that while may not have been historically accurate, Yet it reveals that despite being a queen, Victoria is still an 18 year old young woman who feels attraction and affection as easily as the servants downstairs who help run Buckingham House (soon to be Palace, as Victoria exclaims as she moves in).

Viewers may recognize actors from other programs, such as Tom Hughes as Prince Albert (Dancing On The Edge, Miss Marple) and Nell Hudson as Miss Skerrett (Outlander), which proves to be an enjoyable game of “Where Have I Seen That Actor Before?” amidst the political and romantic issues of the day which Victoria must contend with in her early reign. But above all else, Victoria is firm in her decisions on love and life, and handles criticism gracefully (usually) while being honest with her priorities and feelings. Something leaders no matter the time period and country could stand to learn.

Victoria airs on GPB on Sunday nights at 9 p.m., now through March 5th.


Fans Celebrate End of Downton Abbey with Live Chats and Galas

MASTERPIECE Downton Abbey The Final Season Premieres January 3, 2016 at 9 PM ET The top PBS drama of all time approaches its climactic chapter as Downton Abbey embarks on its final season. The year is 1925, and momentous change threatens the great house, its owners, and servants. Past scandals are also looming. The beloved ensemble is back for their farewell performance, closing the book on a television legend. Shown: MICHELLE DOCKERY as Lady Mary Crawley © Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2015 for MASTERPIECE This image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only.


Written by Guest Blogger, Rosemary Jean-Louis, Desperate for Downton

The last season of “Downton Abbey” is finally airing in the U.S. and its storylines have already elicited big smiles. (*Spoiler alert: plots to be revealed in this article so if you haven’t watched the season so far, you may want to skip ahead!)

Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes tied the knot in episode 3. Mr. Branson’s unexpected and welcome return during the reception induced tears of joy. The Bates are cleared of any connection to Mr. Green’s murder and have a baby on the way.

All is really well at the Abbey, but unfortunately fans will get to enjoy this bliss for only a few more weeks as the last episode airs March 6.

No worries! Just as tours of movie locations have extended the fan experience of the beloved films, several events are extending the viewer experience offscreen to celebrate “Downton’s” ending. Here are some of them. 

Downton Abbey Live Chat Sundays: Every Sunday for the past five years, I have been hosting an online live chat during the broadcast of “Downton Abbey” on the Desperate for Downton Georgia Public Broadcasting blog. My group of chatters convene there loyally. Some participants have come from Texas, California and New York and join in because they enjoy the camaraderie. Others have joined in because they were too sick to attend a friend’s real life “Downton” watch party. They appreciated finding one online.

It’s not too late to watch the last season with people who love the show very much too. Join us at 9 p.m. on Sundays. We’re welcome you.

Downton Abbey Galas in Macon and Savannah: Bid goodbye to the Crawleys in style by attending a “Downton” themed soiree. Georgia Public Broadcasting held one in Atlanta this past December where Jessica Fellowes, the niece to “Downton” creator Julian Fellowes, and the author of the companion”Downton Abbey” books was the headliner. Plus attendees got to see the first episode before others did.

GPB Macon is hosting a similar function, dubbed “A Farewell to Downton” on Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m. at the Library Ballroom in Macon, Ga.  There will be dinner, dancing and a preview of episode 4. Get tickets here.

If you can’t attend that one, you can head further south to Savannah. That’s where GPB Savannah is hosting their “Diamonds & Dinner At Downton Abbey” on February 23 at 6 p.m.  at the Jepson Center at the Telfair Museum. Guests will get to see the final episode before everyone else and get an insider’s perspective from the show’s official jewelry designer, Andrew Prince.  Get tickets here. 

Downton Abbey Weekend at Sea Island: For its final “Downton Abbey” themed weekend the Sea Island resort has pulled out all the stops, flying in cast, crew and companion book author to give fans multiple insiders’ perspectives on how the last season came together. Four stars of the show will be there: Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes)  and Michael Fox (Andy) are appearing for the first time. Raquel Cassidy (Baxter) and Kevin Doyle (Moseley) are returning as is Jessica Fellowes. Executive Producer Liz Trubridge, costume designer Anna Robbins and historical advisor Alastair Bruce are also coming in.

I’ll be there covering and live tweeting the event. I hope to see you there. Find out more here.