You know the saying – you wait years for a period royal drama about a young female monarch struggling with ruling and romance, which happens to star a Doctor Who actor, and then two come along at once.
At least that’s the case with ITV’s Victoria and Netflix’s The Crown, both of which explore similar themes (though about Jenna Coleman’s Victoria and Claire Foy’s 20th-century Elizabeth II, respectively) while casting marquee names from the BBC’s biggest sci-fi franchise (former companion Coleman and ex-Doctor Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip in the Netflix series).
However, the producer of The Crown says he’s “not at all” worried about the competition from the ITV series, written by Daisy Goodwin – because in his mind, despite their later start this November his team are already streets ahead.
“I was very aware that the scale and the ambition of what we were doing was just so much greater,” Andrew Eaton told RadioTimes.com at a press event tonight.
“There were certain things that we were hoping to avoid… being soapy at all because you want to make a family drama, you don’t want to make it something where you’re like, ‘Previously on The Crown’ and have to explain things.
“And I think there’s a little bit more historical licence on Victoria where you’re sort of having to do that just to bring people in. And also because there was so recently, I think, a really brilliant film The Young Victoria which covers similar territory, it’s like – ‘well are we just coming up with the same stuff again?’”
Summing up, he concluded: “I think it’s the difference between being fascinated by the constitutional system that we have and actually really sticking to the historical facts, to what really happened.
“And I think Victoria is slightly… I mean I just don’t think Daisy Goodwin is anywhere like the same league as [The Crown scribe] Peter Morgan as a writer so I think it’s harder to achieve.”
We have a while to wait until we find out just how well the two series match up, but one thing’s for sure – this battle for the autumn drama crown will put Game of Thrones to shame.
The Crown is available on Netflix from the 4th November, while Victoria concludes on ITV this Sunday at 9:00pm