PBS is doing its best to make the ending of “Downton Abbey” as painless as possible for fans. With the series-finale episode set to air in the U.S. Feb. 28, the network has already lined up a new period piece to take the Crawley family’s time slot next year.
PBS viewers will welcome in 2017 another period drama, this one following Queen Victoria, who ruled Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to her death in 1901. Like “Downton Abbey,” the show, titled “Victoria,” will air on ITV in the U.K. before becoming available to U.S. viewers on PBS. However, fans shouldn’t get too attached to the new offering. It’s considered a miniseries, consisting of eight installments.
“‘Downton Abbey’ has proved that millions of viewers will turn up year after year for a beautifully crafted period drama,” Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton told reporters during the Television Critics Association winter press tour Monday. “‘Victoria’ has it all: a riveting script, brilliant cast and spectacular locations. And it’s a true story! This is exactly the kind of programming Masterpiece fans will love.”
As ITV previously announced, “Victoria” will tell the “longest-reigning monarch’s” true life story, beginning when she ascended the throne at the age of 18. But there is so much more to Queen Victoria than being one of the most powerful women of her time. She had a “passionate marriage” to Prince Albert — and faced “scandal and sleaze.”
“Her diaries, all 62 million words of them, give an astonishingly vivid picture of her transformation from rebellious teenager into, to my mind, our greatest queen,” executive producer Daisy Goodwin said in a press release last May.
“Victoria” will star former “Doctor Who” actress Jenna Coleman in the title role. Coleman will be joined by Rufus Sewell (“The Man in the High Castle”), Tom Hughes (“The Game”), Alex Jennings (“Silk”), Paul Rhys (“Borgia”) and Peter Firth (“MI-5”). The miniseries will premiere in the U.S. in 2017 Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.