TV Review: Becoming Elizabeth (Episode 1)

Our enduring passion for the Tudors on TV continues with Becoming Elizabeth

“The sex lives of the court aren’t regularly reported to the child”

With a cast that includes John Heffernan, Alexandra Gilbreath, Jessica Raine, Leo Bill, Romola Garau, Jamie Parker and more, I’ve long been awaiting the arrival of Becoming Elizabeth on free-to-view TV. It first aired on Starz last summer but now arrives on Channel 4 and on the evidence of this first episode, looks like it might have been worth the wait.

Starting with the death of Henry VIII, the show purports to follows the younger years of Queen Elizabeth I but at this juncture, the focus is on all three of his children – Mary and Edward as well – plus the wider court around them. Many familiar names pop up – the Seymours, the Dudleys, Jane Grey, but there’s a relatively fresh take on them here.

There’s a good deal of sex involved in that – Raine’s Catherine Parr is no grieving widow, rather finding release in being able to shag and marry Tom Cullen’s Thomas Seymour, Alicia von Rittberg’s teenage Elizabeth infatuated with him too and far too easily preyed upon at this point. Dynastic plotting is well underway too and I look forward to seeing how it all falls out in this treatment.

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