If you’re looking for something to watch this month, one that we can’t suggest enough is the period drama, Becoming Elizabeth. The show, which premieres on Starz on June 12th, examines the life of Princess Elizabeth I before she became queen.
Maybe it’s our obsession with all things royal that drew us to the Tudor drama, but we have to say whatever it was, we’re okay with it. Because though we can’t tell anyone about the show yet (embargoes), we’ve seen some episodes and we have to say, it’s fantastic.
We’re betting that you have a lot of questions about the show and why you should watch? Well we’re going to tell you everything we know.
WHERE CAN YOU WATCH?
Becoming Elizabeth is set to premiere on Sunday, June 12, at midnight. The show will stream on all Starz on-demand platforms, and internationally on the Starzplay premium platform. The show will also debut on the Starz channel on at 9 p.m. E.T./P.T.
HOW LONG ARE THE EPISODES?
There are eight episodes in the season, which are about an hour (or so) long.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Becoming Elizabeth is the fascinating, untold story of the early life of England’s most iconic Queen. Long before she ascended the throne, young Elizabeth Tudor was an orphaned teenager who became embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court. The death of King Henry VIII sets into motion a dangerous scramble for power. His surviving children find themselves pawns in a game between the great families of England and the powers of Europe who vie for control of the country.
The world of Becoming Elizabeth is visceral, dangerous, and very bloody; a time in which every man or woman of the court is on the wheel of fortune, which may take them to a position of great power one moment, or the executioner’s block the next. Judgements are rendered quickly, and no one is safe.
WHERE WAS IT FILMED?
A lot of the series was filmed in Cardiff Castle. The castle is a, “medieval castle and Victorian Gothic revival mansion located in the city centre of Cardiff, Wales. The original motte and bailey castle was built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a 3rd-century Roman fort.”
WHO ARE THE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS AND WHO PLAYS THEM?
Alicia von Rittberg as Princess Elizabeth
About Elizabeth: Second of Henry VIII’s three children, born to the “Great Whore” Anne Boleyn. A teenager who thinks she is an adult and old enough to play the games that she is thrown into after the death of her father. She wants to keep her siblings together, but it proves an impossible task as she treads a delicate path through their opposing religious views. Her brother and sister are not the only people pulling Elizabeth in different directions. Elizabeth’s love for her stepmother Catherine is tested by Catherine’s new husband Thomas and his flirtatious attention which both flatters and scares her.
Jessica Raine stars as Catherine Parr
About Catherine Parr: Henry’s widow. A clever, educated woman, who played the part of Regent once during Henry’s illness and bitterly resents that she is not able to play it again. As the young King ascends to the throne, Catherine is left on the sidelines, but is at last free to pursue her former lover, the King’s uncle Thomas Seymour.
Tom Cullen plays Thomas Seymour
About Thomas Seymour: Simultaneously charming, playful and funny whilst being hotheaded, ambitious and possibly dangerous – Thomas Seymour expects the spoils that ought naturally to fall to the King’s uncle. His ambitions are ruined by the machinations of his older brother Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset who quickly seizes the position of Lord protector to the new boy king. He marries his former lover the dowager queen Catherine for both power and love but then his eye falls on the teenage Elizabeth and a whole new pathway to power opens up in front of him.
John Hefferman as the Duke of Somerset
About The Duke of Somerset: Quick off the block when the old King dies, Somerset loses no time in claiming the position of Lord Protector for himself. He is to all intents and purposes the de facto monarch during Edward’s childhood and teenage years. Humorless and ruthless he is the opposite of his younger brother Thomas.
Oliver Zetterström as King Edward
About Edward: Henry’s youngest, but as a boy, the only one that matters in the brutal wars of Tudor succession. Determined to not be seen as a child, despite the overbearing Lord Protector and to bring his country into a new Protestant age, by force if necessary.
Romola Garai as Princess Mary
About Mary: Henry’s eldest child, daughter of his first wife, the Spanish princess herself, Catherine of Aragon. Mary is equally devoted to her God and her little brother the King and it cleaves her in two that her twin devotions are entirely incompatible. For if she honours one, she dishonours the other.
Jamie Blackley AS ROBERT DUDLEY
About Robert Dudley: John Dudley’s eldest and favourite son, and Elizabeth’s friend from childhood. Working as the king’s groom, from being enamoured with court life he slowly starts to realise quite how dangerous a world he has been born into.
Alexandra Gilbreath AS KAT ASHLEY
About Kat Ashley: The nearest thing Elizabeth has to a mother since Anne Boleyn’s execution when she was only two. A fountain of both sage and reckless advice, sometimes a scandalous gossip, Kat remains by Elizabeth’s side until Elizabeth falls from grace and her service is no longer required.
Leo Bill as Henry Grey
About Henry Grey: A senior member of England’s council, Henry is related by marriage to the Tudor line and never misses an opportunity to remind everyone. His daughter Jane is next in line after Elizabeth and Mary, and Henry has a plan to bring her closer still.
Bella Ramsey as Lady Jane Grey
About Lady Jane Grey: Lady Jane is brought under Catherine and Thomas’s wing, as part of their and her father’s plan to marry her to the king. Young, serious, clever, and staunchly Protestant, she has a clear sense of her own place in the world: as near to the throne as she can get without sitting in the king’s lap. (Although there again…)
Ekow Quartey as PEDRO
About Pedro: “A black Spanish mercenary who sells his sword to the man (or woman) he thinks most worthy of it. He respects and values his friendship with Somerset and Dudley, men he has met on the battlefield many a time before.”
Alex Macqueen AS STEPHEN GARDINER
About Stephen Gardiner: A Catholic bishop who begins the series having been confined to the Tower for his reluctance to accept England’s shift to Protestantism. A wily politician devoted to three things; the princess Mary, the restoration of the Catholic faith and to keeping himself alive during the process.
Oliver Huband AS AMBASSADOR GUZMAN
About Ambassador Guzman: The arrogant and cunning Spanish ambassador, one of the pillars of Mary’s alternative court, the face of Mary’s overseas allies.