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  • I remember watching this series when it first came out and really enjoyed it very much. Annette Crosbie was absolutely wonderful as Queen Victoria. It was truly sad to lose her when she had to die in the series. I also remember Helen Ryan being wonderful as Princess and later Queen Alexandra. Of course Timothy West did a fine job as Prince Albert Edward and later King Edward VII. I must admit I felt that Robert Hardy was sadly miscast as Prince Albert. Felicity Kendal was great as the Princess Royal and Empress Frederick. Francesca Annis was lovely as Lillie Langtry. It really was sad when the series inevitably had to end as it grew on you with every episode. It has rarely been repeated which is truly a sad endictment of television today. It should be as it is very good indeed.
  • angelofvic3 January 2012
    10/10
    Superb!
    I had no idea how fantastic or informative or entertaining this miniseries is! It was so great I watched the whole thing in just two days! (On Netflix Instant streaming.)

    Wow, not only was it fascinating and vastly entertaining (not to mention superbly cast and acted), it also was so very informative. It really filled in a lot of blanks in my knowledge and awareness. I really had no idea how Bertie was treated by his parents throughout his life. I had erroneously thought he was a mere hedonistic playboy, by his own choice and inclination. Boy, did this series set me straight!

    The series also cleared up the puzzles in my mind about the origins of WWI. Nowhere in the vast amount of ink spilled on the subject have I been given as clear a picture of the cause and build-up as in this miniseries. Invaluable. Also, I had no idea that "Willi" was such a psychotic madman, or that he was controlled by Bismark from early childhood, or that he turned away from his mother and ancestry. Absolutely fascinating.

    I must commend the filmmakers and writers on doing an excellent job all around in making a delightful yet informative miniseries which is as gripping as any fictional period miniseries to come out of the UK. This is easily now one of my top miniseries of all time.

    By the way, the acting is superb. It includes Annette Crosby as Victoria, Timothy West as Bertie (Edward VII), Robert Hardy as Prince Albert, Helen Ryan as Princess Alexandra, Michael Hordern as Gladstone, and John Gielgud as Disreali, just for starters. Also included are Charles Sturridge (writer and director of Brideshead Revisited) as young Bertie, Nigel Havers as Bertie's friend, and Felicity Kendal as Victoria's firstborn child. And on and on, including a gorgeous young Charles Dance as young Prince Eddy (Bertie and Alix's first child), and Lillie Langtry portrayed by Francesca Annis, who on the strength of this portrayed her again three years later in an entire miniseries of her own, "Lillie".

    Trust me on this, if you love period British miniseries (or films), you're going to love this. Particularly if you love, for instance, any of the Victoria dramatizations such as Her Majesty Mrs Brown, or Young Victoria; or Victoria & Albert; or The Lost Prince; or Lillie; etc. It's addicting.

    For American viewers, check it out on Netflix Instant, or purchase the box set on Amazon.

    Enjoy!
  • The very finest of British actors in a splendid production. I recommend everybody with interest in quality to buy this video. A historical drama which is intense and accurate. Anette Crossbies and John Gielgud performances are beyond Oscar quality.
  • Being fans or admirers of a lot of the actors here and being drawn to such an interesting subject, I loved Edward the Seventh. It is a visually sumptuous affair with beautiful costumes, locations and photography. The music is likewise gorgeous. The story is highly absorbing, well paced and very accurate, and the writing is intelligent even in the wordier parts.

    Edward the Seventh has a superb cast. Not only is it great on paper, but it is so much fun seeing so many familiar faces and all of them give great performances. Timothy West is marvellous in the titular character role, and of the cast the standouts were Helen Ryan as a tolerant and sympathetic Alexandra and especially Annette Crosbie's nuanced turn as the definitive Victoria.

    That is not to dispute the other performances either. Robert Hardy is suitably rigid and determined as Albert, John Gielgud is a wonderful Disraeli, Christopher Neame is a wonderfully wicked Kaiser and Francessca Annis is also very good as Lillie. All in all, a really well done series, very absorbing with not a dull moment with great production values and you couldn't have asked for a more better cast too. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • He was known as Bertie in the family and he was the eldest son and heir of Queen Victoria, probably the whitest woman, not to mention the most morally pure to ever sit on the english throne. To everyone else he was the prince of wales. Later he was to be known as King Edward VII, of Great Britain & Ireland, defender of the faith etc etc. This BBC series is a re-enactment of his life and has tried to keep to historical accuracy as much as possible, although anglophile purists may find much to criticise. Due in part to his position poor Bertie was singled out early from his four brothers & four sisters for special treatment. His stern lutheran father Albert the prince consort had arranged a strictly academic upbringing for his eldest son which was totally unsuited to his personality. Albert however neglected to imbue his son with what he needed most at that time, fatherly affection. His mother as she so often did took her cues from her husband and was happy to leave their childrens education in his hands. Consequently following the early death of his father from typhoid Bertie turned his back on academia and swore he would never read another text book. At 20 he married the beautiful danish princess Alexandra of Denmark and was to father 5 children by her. Initially it was a happy marriage but soon Berties short attention span and wandering eye caused him to seek respite in the arms of other woman. Most notably among them Lily Langtry, Agnes Keyser, Alice Keppel and Daisy Brook. What his wife thought of these friendships can only be guessed at and she can not have been unaware of these liaisons. The prince of wales for reasons of decency and protocol made a point of only aligning himself with married women most of whom he would introduce to his wife. Divorced ladies were out of bounds and forbidden even in the royal presence. It was to say the least an ambiguous set of rules. His liaisons were an open secret and discretion was the watchword for members of his household. Royalty then was treated with more respect than it is now. Bertie was as immoral in many respects as his mother was amoral to the whole of the british empire. But despite these major flaws in his character he proved a hardworking and popular monarch for the short period that he reigned. At a time when relations with France & England were at their lowest ebb he toured there and his presence in Paris at such a turbulent time helped to initiate the diplomatic accords known as "the entente cordiale". Following death in 1911 he was sincerely mourned by his subjects and as his private secretary Frederick Ponsonby eulogised at his funeral,,,"we will all miss this wayward popular and in the end humane sovereign"

    For me a thoroughly absorbing biographical portrayal of this very interesting personality. Timothy West, despite a close resemblance to Edward failed to capture his jovial character and avuncular personality so often remarked about in the contemporary diaries of the time. A shame really because then the series would have been doubly watchable. Helen Ryan although not quite capturing the famous beauty of Queen Alexandra does an adequate job as Bertie's long suffering wife. At Bertie's deathbed it was Alexandra who in a gracious gesture summoned several of the kings closest friends to say their final farewells to him. Francesca Annis also stands out here in her role as Lily Langtry a part she was to repeat in another tv series depicting one of the most famous of english courtesans of the time. Overall I give this a 7/10. Unfortunately not out on video or DVD.
  • Upon seeing this drama, I found the first few episodes to be really slow - a step-by-step account of the birth and childhood of the prince, containing all the dry and mundane details of the politics of the time and a lengthy show of his education. The young prince is portrayed as a sensitive, handsome boy under too much pressure from his parents and tutors. Whether everyone would agree with this representation I don't know - we never see him having fun with his brothers + sisters for example, and his natural apathy never comes across. Personally, I skipped the early episodes and only watched them after i'd watched the rest of the series, as I wanted to get on with the story.

    Although the drama picks up after the death of Prince Albert, the main problem with it is that is that the writing is so restrained. We see much of Bertie as a respectful son, husband and a cheerful friend, but NEVER as an adulterer (we never see any first-hand evidence of this, although his 'letters' are sometimes alluded to), we seem him playing cards a lot of the time and being a nice brother to Vicky. Too many scenes are devoted to sympathising with him over his mother's refusal to give him any real duties (She says he is too frivolous and irresponsible - though we don't SEE him doing anything very bad so this totally UNBALANCES the drama).

    As the lead, Timothy West portrays Edward as an intelligent idealist, not a reckless, fun-loving rake, and this, combined with the rather one-sided writing, means that West doesn't nail the character, and as a main character Bertie is rather bland. Annette Crosbie is a formidable Queen Victoria, we see how she jealously coveted her beloved husband and deeply resents Bertie - but this is about as much scope as the writing gives to her, so we are again denied a fully rounded character.

    By far my favourite portrayal was that of Queen Alexandra - the only character who the writing gave full justice to. We see her in-depth as a wife and mother, her tact and ability to dispel a bad atmosphere, her kind but simple nature, and her close bond with her sister Dagmar. Helen Ryan's performance is brilliant, she really gets Alexandra's personality off to the audience, even in her speech and movements. She is the only character with whom Bertie has a deep, complex relationship.

    As you can imagine, most of the series is filmed on tape in a studio, though the sets and costume are all very fine and sumptuous. The direction is generally okay, although sometimes I found that emotional scenes (still playing music in the background) would abruptly cut, and then we'd be on to the next scene, which seemed a bit crude.

    One of my main problems with the series is the concept itself. Of all the many Kings and Queens of England, why make a 13HOUR long series on... Edward the Seventh? It seems a bit of an odd choice to me. And then to subsequently leave out controversial aspects of his life just takes out all the fun and action. The King himself was a very lively, adventurous personality with a strong need for sexual and emotional fulfilment - I think he's be bored to pieces watching a drama like this.

    Ultimately, if you like history and have the time, 'Edward the King' is a quiet, compelling drama and will give you something decent to watch. Despite its flaws, you cam see they have taken the time and effort to recreate the Victorian age. However, it's not big on action and might not appeal to many of a younger generation. Though it lacks the dramatic intensity of dramas like 'Elizabeth R' and 'I, Claudius', anyone with an interest in the era and some patience will enjoy this.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched the series when it was first broadcast, but I greatly enjoyed seeing it again, especially not having to wait a week between episodes. The work is extremely well-done as a drama and is also historically accurate. Seeing it for a second time made me more aware of all the sets and set dressings; the makers went to extraordinary means to insure that all the pictures on the walls and all the items on the desks were accurate. Because there are pictures available of the royal family through these decades, they could make sure of wallpaper, furniture, and costumes, and they took the trouble, even if the scene was short and the viewer would scarcely have time to notice. The only thing I noticed that was not historical was the aggressive behavior of Wilhelm II of Germany, but I can imagine that he appeared that way to the English.

    Edward VII was an excellent subject for a detailed 13-episode series. Even though he was neither king, nor allowed duties that would prepare him to one day assume the throne through most of the episodes, his life reveals things about the Victorian era. During his years in waiting, Europe was changing. Democratic revolutions were taking place. Though not dwelt upon, the British monarchy's fear of these revolutions is mentioned fairly often. Nationalism swept through even countries that were politically stable and would ultimately upset the empire. "Bertie's" father Albert hoped to unite Europe with marriage alliances, but Albert's early death and Bertie's brief reign allowed nations to arm to the teeth, preparing for war. Bertie's life is echoed in the current situation of Prince Charles, who will be even older when (and if) he ascends the throne. Finally, the life and times of this king are not well-known even in the U.K. and especially not in the U.S. Both the drama in the life of Edward VIII and the short reign of Edward VII leave him neatly tucked in a corner and forgotten.

    If the series were done today, I suspect that there would be more details on the affairs Bertie had with married women during the time he was the Prince of Wales. The way the director portrays them is essentially the Victorian way. The Prince's actions were by no means unique, and yet the solution at the time was to pretend the affairs did not exist. When scandal reached the ears of Queen Victoria, her biggest concern is how the news will affect the monarchy.

    The actors in the series deserve the last and greatest accolades. Not only did they portray important world figures through 30 to 50 years, but they, in large measure, closely resemble the historical personage and have mastered their mannerisms.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    But I am obsessed with the Victorian and Edwardian monarchies. Most of the acting was excellent, although I have to say, most of the portrayals of Victoria's daughters were extra flattering, physically. They even had Vicki as slim as a girl with Willie full-grown, when in fact she had assumed a rather massive size at a rather young age, just like her mother. Victoria too appeared far slimmer than she actually became at a much younger age.

    I thought the actor playing Bertie was especially good. As well of course the role of the Queen. I think Willie was portrayed as a little more lucid than he actually was. Alex was well portrayed and was indeed fierce and fiery on the subject of Prussia, nearly causing international crises more than once.

    Such a shame how Victoria put Bertie in such an untenable position for decades. What a crazy old bat she turned out to be, no matter if she retained some wisdom.

    It is so sad in retrospect to see now blind they all were to the dangers of Germany for so long. Sometimes, when I am feeling especially cruel, I almost wish Victoria had lived to see what horrors her beloved Willie wrought.

    Overall from everything I have read, this series is very true to actual events and attitudes.
  • Timothy West was excellent in the role of a king who had a short but very successful reign. The man was King Edward VII, formerly the playboy Prince of Wales, who became the grandfather of Europe. He was a sophisticated man who enjoyed wine, women and a good cigar. West gives him that gravitas that he must have nurtured offstage until the death of his mother Queen Victoria, when he was 61. Monarchy seemed to fit him like a glove and so it seems with West. Although his domineering mother kept him off centre stage as Prince of Wales, he did blossom as king. Victoria, as a charming monarch with a cold determination, is played superbly by a Annette Crosbie and the Princess of Wales/Queen Alexandra is Helen Ryan, who had a copyright on roles as the elegant consort representing the best of Edwardian England. There are excellent actors appearing in the movie: Michael Hordern (Willam Gladstone), John Gielgud (Benjamin Disraeli), Felicity Kendall (the Princess Royal), Charles Dance (Prince Edward), Francesca Annis (Lilly Langtry), etc. I was greatly impressed with this series. Movies like this fine one are a great way to stimulate interest in history. It is one of many home-grown, British television shows that have done just that for me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was not going to write review, thinking that deserved obscurity of this series now, in spite of its alleged popularity at the time of broadcast, should be enough of a response from posterity. Unfortunately, given the lack of historical knowledge among westerners, as exemplified in the reviews already posted (one of theme even praising the non existent historically accuracy, made me change my mind.

    This is series is historically inaccurate throughout. This results from an propagandist desire to paint a picture of the main character in direct contrast to what is known about him through historical sources. In reality he was stupid, incompetent, uncultured, racist, intolerant, and extravagant. This series either ignore or deny some of those qualities. Those that have to be admitted are justified or excused. For example it can't deny he was an adulterous wastrel, but it repeatedly and implausibly claims that was because his mother did not give him any responsibilities.

    In order to whitewash his irretrievably unsympathetic character, other characters must be slandered. So this series attacks Queen Victoria (who was vile enough in reality) in every possible way, using an absurdly overacting actress. Prime Ministers, husbands and family members of his mistresses, Kaiser, and lots more, are slandered using crudest methods.

    In reality, this king had almost no effect on historical events, but he is portrayed as shaping events in vital ways. He was willing and knowing representative of one of the most brutish, oppressive, and exploitative, regimes ever to exist on earth; The British Empire. Comparable evil regimes of same scale did not appear on earth until middle of 20th century. Both imperial Russia and Germany as they existed from 1870s to World War 1, while bad, were not even on the same league when it comes to atrocities perpetrated by them. But this character is allowed to lecture others as if he was heading what is now called a 'liberal democracy'. While exaggerated aggression of Germany take a considerable part of screen time, hardly any mention of many bloody conquests, or resistance and independence struggles (and their brutal suppression) in 'colonies' are mentioned. Boer war, a struggle between two groups of colonizers, in which British were clearly the aggressor, is mentioned, but in a one sided way. Irish are laughed at using stereotypes.

    To those who are not idiotic or ignorant, this series is nothing but crudely made propaganda of the worst kind.