In Depth

Victoria series two: ITV drama returns on Sunday

Motherhood will be a key theme in series two - but expect 'explosive' conflict, too

ITV's historical drama Victoria returns to screens for a second series on Sunday.

The first series of the crowns and gowns drama pulled in more than seven million viewers at its peak, despite being scheduled in direct competition with BBC One's own flagship period drama, Poldark.

This year's absence of conflict with Poldark - whose third series ended earlier this month - means that viewing figures for Victoria could be even higher this time around.

So what can we expect from series two?

Screenwriter Daisy Goodwin says the opening episode will pick up shortly after the birth of Victoria's first child, also named Victoria, in 1840, and that much of the drama in inspired by the queen's historically documented aversion to childbirth and nursing.

"She's suffering from post-natal depression and she doesn't find motherhood easy," she told Metro. "She loves her children but she finds the adjustment to motherhood a very difficult one."

But, despite her struggles with motherhood, Victoria will still find time for some passionate scenes with Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Although this series will be about "romance" rather than sex, Goodwin says, "we get a gist of the passion that exists between them".

Lending an additional frisson to the bodice-ripping encounters between the young queen and her dashing Teutonic prince is the fact that Coleman and Hughes are now an item off-screen too.

Emotions other than lust will also be running high, as the queen's infamous hot temper isn't going anywhere soon. Coleman told The Sun earlier this month than fans can expect at least one "explosive" argument.

"We did one on our first day [of filming] this year," she said. "I had to throw a hairbrush at Tom. I hit him and it broke - it was awful. I got through several of them!"

Besides personal struggles, Victoria will also face an array of challenges as queen in series two, including famine in Ireland and Britain's strained relationship with France.

Episode one of the new series will be shown on Sunday 27 August at 9.05pm on ITV.

Victoria series two: Five big questions

6 February

Victoria, the period drama that stole the hearts of the nation last year, will be returning for a second series this autumn.

An average 7.7 million viewers tuned in to watch the programme, which follows the life of the 19th-century monarch Queen Victoria, played by Jenna Coleman.

When is it back?

After courting British viewers in August last year, the historical drama will make its hotly-anticipated return this autumn. The series will conclude with an hour and a half long episode at Christmas.

What will it be about?According to screenwriter Daisy Goodwin, the series will move onto a modern theme as

the monarch balances the toils of family life with being the most important woman in Britain.  

"Even though she reigned in the 19th century, Victoria is a heroine for our times," says Goodwin. "In the next series she faces the very modern dilemma of how to juggle children with her husband and her job. As Victoria will discover, it's hard to be a wife, a mother and ruler of the most powerful nation on earth."

Could Lord Melbourne return?

Rufus Sewell's charismatic portrayal of the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne may have deviated somewhat from the politician's role in real life, but viewers are still keen to see history turned on its head.

Although Victoria made a match in Prince Albert, played by Tom Hughes, camp Melbourne doesn't seem to mind whether the show sticks to the facts so that the lovable Lord can return to enchant the monarch again.

However, Coleman has told Radio Times that Albert and Melbourne "cannot coexist together, and it's not how history went". She added: "Melbourne stopped being PM and after that he aged very quickly."

Is there still romance on and off screen?

Sparks between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert flew on and off screen, with Coleman and Hughes still said to be dating. Although the couple first met when filming BBC2 drama Dancing On The Edge, the pair started their romance when they took on their roles as the charismatic royal couple.

Is it all over after series two?

Another series could make the grade if the "appetite remains strong", Coleman has said. The first season covered three years of the monarch's reign and the second is expected to confine itself to another brief foray into the Queen's life.

"We end the series with the first birth and that's the first of nine children to come," she told Digital Spy. "It's a story waiting to be told. We've not even got to the Great Exhibition; there's a lot to cover."

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