Ho-ho-hallelujah! Jenna Coleman returns as Queen Victoria on Christmas Day for a two-hour festive special of ITV’s royally good drama.
With series creator Daisy Goodwin returning on scripting duties, Comfort and Joy celebrates all of the festivities of a Victorian Christmas at Buckingham Palace. Set in 1846, Victoria is uncharacteristically melancholy as she prepares for her first Christmas without Baroness Lehzen. Pregnant with her fourth child, the festive period reminds her of her lonely childhood spent at Kensington. Albert, meanwhile, is obsessed with staging the perfect family Christmas. He transforms the palace into a magical festive wonderland. However, tensions arise when he invites some unwelcome guests to join the celebrations…
Below stairs, Francatelli and Skerrett are finally together. However, as romances amongst staff are forbidden, they cannot show that they’re in love, which puts strain on their relationship. The situation only complicates further when Skerrett inherits a large estate from an estranged uncle. Needless to say, it’s going to be a dramatic Christmas for everyone involved!
A Victorian Christmas
Daisy Goodwin describes the episode as being about “love, near death and really annoying relatives”. But, most importantly, this Christmas special is all about family – which, according to Jenna Coleman, is “a safe haven” for Victoria. As both the Queen and Prince Albert came from broken homes, they understood how truly important it can be. And of course, in many ways, the family Christmas as we know it today does actually stem from them. “It seems we have Prince Albert to thank for an awful lot that has shaped our world,” Jenna notes about her on-screen husband’s influence on the present.
In Comfort and Joy, Victoria extends the season of goodwill to an African orphan, Sarah, who Jenna describes as “a princess from another world”. Victoria sees something of herself in the abandoned child, and by doing what she can to help her, she begins to ease the wounds of her own childhood. Jenna says that she “really loved exploring [these] scenes”, also teasing a “fascinating” relationship that is “so telling about Victoria as a person“.
So, it’s definitely going to feel like Christmas – but is it going to look like Christmas? After all, having starred in three Doctor Who Christmas specials, Jenna is no stranger to seeing snow on set. Rest assured, we’re in for a seasonal spectacular like never before. From the “beautiful and particular sight” that is “Victorians on ice” , to the warmth of “roaring fires and trees”, we’re definitely in for a truly traditional Christmas.
Stay tuned for Blogtor Who’s full review of the festive episode, but for now, we’ll leave you with a carol: God rest ye merry TV fans, let nothing you dismay… remember Victoria is on at 9 on Christmas Day…!
- Queen Victoria – Jenna Coleman
- Prince Albert – Tom Hughes
- Duchess of Buccleuch – Dame Diana Rigg
- King Leopold – Alex Jennings
- Duke of Coburg – David Oakes
- Duchess of Kent – Catherine Flemming
- Penge – Adrian Schiller
- Mrs Skerrett – Nell Hudson
- Francatelli – Ferdinand Kingsley
- Brodie – Tommy Knight
- Lord Alfred Paget – Jordan Waller
- Duchess of Sutherland – Margaret Clunie
- Miss Wilehelmina Coke – Bebe Cave
- Cleary – Tilly Steele
- King of Hanover – Peter Firth
- Sarah Forbes Bonetta – Zaris-Angel Hator
- Captain Forbes – Ben Lamb
- Mrs Forbes – Catherine Steadman
- Gertrude of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – Nina Pavlovic
- King Gezo – Derek Ezenagu
- Mr Flitch – Andy de la Tour
- Winterhalter – Oliver Walker
- Jeweller – Grant Gillespie