Why ‘Downton Abbey’ Fans Will Love ‘Victoria’

On Sunday night, PBS will not premiere a new season of “Downton Abbey.” The period drama wrapped up last year, but the network is airing a new historical series in its place. “Victoria” follows the rise of Queen Victoria. “Doctor Who” alum Jenna Coleman stars as the titular character, whose story starts in 1837 on the day she is told that she will take the throne.

The series is different from “Downton Abbey.” After all, “Victoria” is retelling a piece of history rather than telling a completely original story. However, the two series share many similarities. “Downton” fans will likely enjoy these parts of “Victoria”:

Costumes — If you love gorgeous period costumes, “Victoria” provides some serious eye candy. The Queen of England wasn’t walking around in anything but the best dresses and tiaras. “We tried to reflect in Victoria’s clothes the emergence of the young queen from an inexperienced teenager, and onward to betrothal and marriage,” costume designer Rosalind Ebbutt told Town & Country. “The changing fashion of the time also helped reflect this, as the wide puffed sleeves of the late 1830s gave way to tighter sleeves, lower waistlines, and more bell-shaped skirts.”

Victoria costumes

“Victoria” features costumes fit for a queen, and the costume team did plenty of research to make sure the outfits were historically accurate. Photo: ITV Plc

Opinionated Women — Lady Mary would have liked Victoria. As soon as the teenager comes into power, she embraces her role. She is headstrong and ready to fight all the adults who want to tell her what to do.

Victoria PBS

Once she has a crown, Queen Victoria does not want to listen to people like her mother. Photo: ITV Plc

Upstairs/Downstairs Conflicts — The drama in “Downton Abbey” was always scandalous, and you should expect nothing less in “Victoria.” As Victoria moves into Buckingham Palace, there will be some changes to the staff that the downstairs crew will not appreciate. “Torchwood” alum Eve Myles plays a dresser who won’t be happy when new staff members are added without her approval.


Victoria downstairs

Mrs. Jenkins (Eve Myles) is a veteran staff member who will have trouble with changes in “Victoria” Season 1.Photo: ITV Plc

Romance — You can bet that everyone wants to marry the new queen. Expect plenty of suitors before she weds her husband Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). In the pilot, she’ll take a particularly fond interest in Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell).


Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) is the older man that catches Victoria’s eye in PBS’ new historical drama. Photo: ITV Plc

“Victoria” Season 1 premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on PBS, following the “Sherlock” Season 4 finale.

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