Okay, so I know I'm way behind on this, but maybe it's not too late to inspire some of my readers to watch one of the best (if not the best) on-screen adaptations of the story of our Gloriana, Queen Elizabeth I. Apparently, in 2005, HBO released a mini-series called "Elizabeth I," starring Helen Mirren as the Queen (fabulous). At the time this was on TV, I was obviously living under a rock, because I had no clue! Had I known, I would be all over this series...but I'm all over it now, and I'll tell you why.
First of all, Helen Mirren is a terrific actress, and, being a British woman, she captures Elizabeth's way of speaking and carrying herself perfectly. She is such a powerful woman to watch in this series...she embodies Elizabeth's personality to a T - just as we've read and researched about her - She has the Tudor temper, and the sweet, caring side to her. Mirren can quickly jump from one to the other in a beautiful, theatrical way, that I don't think can be matched by another Elizabeth actress.
(I must say, I am also a huge fan of Cate Blanchett's performances as Elizabeth, but Mirren gives her a run for her money).
Another thing I love about this series is how Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, is portrayed. (By the way, "Leicester" is pronounced "Lester." I messed that up for a while, saying "Lie-Chester," haha!). Anyway, Leicester is played by the British actor, Jeremy Irons - also the voice of Scar in Disney's "The Lion King." Remember that incredible voice? Match that with a witty and charming personality, not to mention a rugged, sexy exterior, and you've got Robert Dudley - or "Sweet Robin," as Queen Elizabeth referred to him as. Personally, I think Jeremy Irons completely nailed this role. Watching him on-screen, I saw the Leicester that I imagined in my mind when I read "The Virgin's Lover" (more info in my "Favorite Books" page). He appeared smart, courageous, devoted, and romantic with Helen Mirren, and it was magic to watch them on-screen together.
I have still not seen the entire series, but I just ordered the DVD set, and I cannot wait to sit down and have an "Elizabeth I" marathon. As I understand it, this series starts out after Elizabeth has already been Queen of England for about 20 years, and goes past Robet Dudley's death. It covers all of the huge moments of Elizabeth's reign - including her fight to remain "the Virgin Queen," the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the execution of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, after her murderous plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth.
Another bonus: Hugh Dancy (from "Ella Enchanted") plays the Earl of Essex - he is also not too hard on the eyes. ;)
If anyone has seen this series, please share your thoughts about it. I will definitely be blogging more about it as I watch it!