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TV Times - - Drama Special - Daphne Lockyer

Tom Hughes, Jenna re­veal how Al­bert

s Al­bert fi­nally be­gins to court the Queen in this week’s Vic­to­ria, you im­me­di­ately see why he was once de­scribed as ‘the hand­somest prince in Chris­ten­dom’.

Af­ter all, The Game’s Tom Hughes is playing him and he ticks ev­ery one of the tall, dark and hand­some boxes.

‘It cer­tainly wasn’t just Al­bert’s mind that Vic­to­ria fell in love with,’ teases the drama’s writer, Daisy Good­win.

In fact, it was an en­try in Vic­to­ria’s own diaries that first grabbed Daisy’s at­ten­tion years ago, when she was study­ing his­tory at Cam­bridge.

‘Be­fore then, I’d al­ways thought of the Queen as a boot-faced old bag in a bon­net, gaz­ing out from mar­ble stat­ues in town halls across the coun­try,’ she laughs, ‘but there it was in black and white, with ex­cla­ma­tion marks and un­der­lin­ings… “How hand­some dear­est Al­bert looks in his white cash­mere breeches. With noth­ing on un­der­neath!”

‘You think of Victorian women lay­ing back and think­ing of Eng­land, but the Queen her­self most cer­tainly wasn’t one of them.’

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Cole­man and Vic­to­ria writer Daisy Good­win won over his re­luc­tant Royal...

Daisy re­turned to the deeply per­sonal diaries when it came to writ­ing the se­ries, which cen­tres on Vic­to­ria’s early years and mar­riage to Al­bert, her first cousin. She was just 20 when they tied the knot.

‘It’s an odd love story,’ Daisy says, ‘the re­verse of Romeo and Juliet re­ally, be­cause it was their fam­i­lies who were push­ing them to­gether, while they at first re­sisted.

‘Vic­to­ria was bro­ken-hearted af­ter her mar­riage pro­posal to

Lord Mel­bourne (Ru­fus Sewell) was kindly but firmly turned down. She’d re­signed her­self to rul­ing alone like El­iz­a­beth I, the Vir­gin Queen, un­til Al­bert showed up and it was like, “Oh!”’

Al­bert also had his own emo­tional bag­gage. ‘When he was five, his mum ran off with one of his fa­ther’s equer­ries and Al­bert never saw her again, so he didn’t ex­actly trust women. But both of them were look­ing for their soul­mates. And that’s ex­actly what they found in each other.’

For 30-year-old Tom, who stars along­side Jenna Cole­man as Vic­to­ria, the role was both chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing.

‘It was about playing some­one with huge com­plex­i­ties,’ he says. ‘On the out­side,

Al­bert can seem quite de­tached and re­served – some­one who doesn’t have

Lord Mel­bourne’s easy charm. He’s a math­e­ma­ti­cian with a log­i­cal mind and yet be­neath the sur­face, he’s also stri­dent and pas­sion­ate, with a re­ally in­de­pen­dent spirit.

‘Plus, you have to re­mem­ber this isn’t just a young cou­ple fall­ing in love. We’re talk­ing about a monarch choos­ing a suitor and all the re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with that.

‘He’d have to sup­port her and pro­vide a role within a sys­tem that he doesn’t re­ally know. And as a young Ger­man – just 19 – Bri­tain must have felt so for­eign, with a to­tally dif­fer­ent style, tone and rhythm. High­light­ing all those com­plex­i­ties was the chal­lenge.’

For Daisy, Tom proved the per­fect Al­bert. ‘He cap­tures both the vul­ner­a­ble, sen­si­tive side that loved Vic­to­ria, but also his sheer in­tel­li­gence. And, if you ask me, he was the bright­est ever mem­ber of the Royal fam­ily. A ge­nius.

‘He was also a proper old­fash­ioned Lib­eral who worked for the abo­li­tion of slav­ery, for ex­am­ple, and who guided Vic­to­ria away from some of her more hot-headed ways.’

Tom was al­ways Daisy’s num­ber one choice for Al­bert. ‘I loved him in The Game. And he was def­i­nitely Jenna’s choice, too. They’re old friends and when Tom came in to au­di­tion, Jenna came with him and they’d ob­vi­ously been prac­tis­ing. You could see that they were right to­gether and ut­terly con­vinc­ing.’

Ask Jenna about some of the best film­ing mo­ments and they’re not the big scenes such as the corona­tion and the wed­ding. ‘Of course, they were amazing,’ she says, ‘but the ones that re­ally knocked me out were some of the quiet scenes be­tween Tom and me, where he’d just give me a cer­tain look or I’d see him walk­ing to­wards me.

‘As ac­tors, there was so much trust be­tween us and we al­ways seemed to have ex­actly the same in­stincts. It was joy­ous.’

Al­though, as Jenna re­veals, the drama doesn’t shy away from the bed­room, it’s the in­ti­macy – rather than the sex – that will win au­di­ences over. ‘It’s about the hu­man con­nec­tion be­tween them and ex­plains why, af­ter Al­bert died so young, Vic­to­ria spent the rest of her life in mourn­ing.’

That is, per­haps, the in­evitable sad con­se­quence of be­ing mar­ried to the hand­somest prince in Chris­ten­dom...

PE­RIOD DRAMA Vic­to­ria SUN­DAY / ITV / 9.00Pm

Al­bert is pas­sion­ate, with a re­ally in­de­pen­dent

spirit It’s reign­ing men...

Daisy says Tom cap­tures Al­bert’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity and fierce in­tel­li­gence

Pi­ano forte: Vic­to­ria and Al­bert were well at­tuned to each other Daisy and Jenna at the show’s launch The cou­ple’s bed­side man­ner could cause a Royal flush

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