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Elizabeth R.

By Jenny Brown

Glenda Jackson is majestic in the six-video miniseries from the BBC, Elizabeth R. Covering the entire reign of Elizabeth I, from her struggles with her half-sister Mary just before being crowned as queen to her death in 1603, the series profiles the life of the Virgin Queen in detail--and with historical accuracy--not possible in the as beautiful, but much shorter, theatrical release, Elizabeth. Religious conflicts, her struggle over the execution of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, battles with Spain, court politics, and of course her flirtations with Robert Dudley (portrayed as an almost-comical fop by Robert Hardy) and her decision to remain unmarried are just some of the highlights of this magnificently costumed and finely acted piece. Jackson skillfully captures the capricious moods and incredible intellect of the queen who defied the pope and the conventions of the time as a strong-willed woman, and characters from textbooks--Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, King Phillip II--come vividly to life. Elizabeth R (and for those not in the know, the "R" is for "Regina") is a splendid melding of history and entertainment, and as thorough as this series is, you will still long for more.


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Check out our Elizabeth R. forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Elizabeth R. viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

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Having been bit by the Tudor bug the previos year, I could not have imagined any worthy followup. PBS achieved this with Elizabeth R. I was already a fan of Glenda Jackson from movies and this role is forever linked with her. Now that she serves in Parliament, I laugh when I imagine her raising her voice with royal authority! I have this series on video and read books on this most extraordinary woman with delight. Time has not dimmed my enthusiasm for more. Being laid to rest next to her half sister Mary likely does not sit well with Elizabeth in the afterlife. However, she would be justified in her trepidation as this marvelous mini series fascinatingly illustrates. Truly, a superb tale of one of the greatest women who ever lived.


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Aired: 1971

Cast: Glenda Jackson, Ronald Hines, Robert Hardy

Network: BBC, PBS

Genre: Drama

Theme song

Image courtesy of BBC, PBS

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