Freeview film of the day: Elizabeth: the Golden Age

The dramatic, if not entirely true-to-life, story of Elizabeth I's public and personal life during the invasion by the Spanish Armada sees Cate Blanchett return to the role of the eponymous Queen


Elizabeth: the Golden Age ★★★★ 
11.25pm-1.25am ITV


First question: Is this movie true to history? Answer: Well, no. Second question: Does it work as a film? Answer: Yes, especially if you can forgive it playing fast and loose with the facts. It’s director Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to the 1998 Elizabeth and again stars the splendid Cate Blanchett in the title role. In 1585 Spain declares war on England, where the ageing Elizabeth is being urged by Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) to marry and thwart the ambitions of Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). Elizabeth, however, is having it away with Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), which came as news to me. Henceforth, we are plunged into murky Papist plots, with Eddie Redmayne assigned to assassinate the queen, the Spanish king planning to grab the English throne for his daughter and, naturally, Francis Drake defeating the Spanish Armada. Historically it’s a mess but thrilling and absorbing nevertheless, and Blanchett was deservedly rewarded with an Oscar nomination as best actress.


 For more of today’s free-to-air films, see our TV listings

 Order your copy of the Radio Times Guide to Films 2017