Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I Synopsis

Helen Mirren is Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII who reunited a nation divided by religious strife, faced down the Spanish Armada and, after an unprecedented forty-five year reign, died one of England’s best-loved monarchs. During her time as Queen, poets and playwrights wrote about her, artists painted her, composers dedicated their work to her, all contributing to the legend of GIoriana, the Virgin Queen.

But Elizabeth I looks beyond the myth, at the woman behind the crown. The woman subjected to a humiliating gynaecological examination when contemplating marrying a French prince, to ensure she was still able to have children. The woman who ran a country and yet who wasn’t allowed to marry the man she loved. The woman who, in her mid-fifties, conducted a passionate affair with a man half her age, a man whose arrogance eventually led him to mount a desperate challenge for Elizabeth’s throne.

Illuminating the grimy, lustful underbelly behind the opulence and formality of the English court, this drama tells for the first time the intimate story of Britain’s most famous Queen.


“This is television that simply oozes quality. From the performances to the settings, the lighting, the costumes, the script and the direction, it is sumptuous, entrancing drama” - Terry Ramsey, Evening Standard
“Helen Mirren as Elizabeth I dominates every moment of this fine dramatisation” - The Times
“An absolute must see” - Daily Express
“Lively, intelligent script from Nigel Williams” - Financial Times

Buy this production

Buy this production on Channel 4 DVD