Starz bet on the rewriting of History with adaptations of Philippa Greggory‘s novels for the screen, with what I call “the marathon of English Queens”, which yielded The White Queen, The White Princess, and The Spanish Princess. Becoming Elizabeth didn’t come out of one of these books, but from the command of director Anya Reiss, best known for the BBC’s EastEnders hit. Honestly? It got better.
We’re one episode away from the series finale and the drama has moved fast, in the face of the movement started by the impulsive Thomas Seymour (Tom Cullen). The invading King’s nephew’s room, secretly to get permission to marry Elizabeth, brought about his and his brother’s death.
One of the most positive aspects of the series is being able to have a narrative of modern values respecting the restrictions of the time. In other words, the facts are “correct”, there is no woman stepping out of her restrictive period role to speak to 21st-century audiences. At the same time, it highlights Elizabeth I’s acumen for survival.
Another exciting aspect is to bring to the screen how the relationship of the three brothers, children of different mothers and the same complicated father, when united they ended up separating and becoming enemies. How Mary I (Romola Garrai) envisioned her reign, how she lost confidence in Elizabeth I and still had her as a loved one (so much so that he didn’t sentence her to death, despite pressure).
The re-enactment of the period – exquisite – is second only to this construction of personal relationships, always affected by the political angle. The rise of the Dudleys, the defeat of the Seymours. In the next episode, the last one, it will become even clearer. I miss it already!