Vulnerable and imperious, passionate and unreachable, from teenage princess to accomplished queen, forever torn between duty and personal longing, the reign of Elizabeth I is exposed in lavish and spectacular style.

Imprisoned in the Tower of London by her half-sister Queen Mary (BAFTA nominee Joanne Whalley, Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis), scared but determined the young Elizabeth (Anne Marie Duff, Shameless, The Magdalane Sisters) fights for her life and for what she believes, as the protestant daughter of Henry VIII, is rightfully hers - England's throne.

After Mary's death, Elizabeth plunges into her role as queen, discovering the harsh realities of ruling a country divided by faith and under threat from abroad. Convinced of her feminine weakness the all-male Privy Council clamours to advise their inexperienced queen. Yet, Elizabeth soon learns how to outwit her enemies and charm those who conspire to their own ends, showing all the strength and resolve of her father. Under constant pressure to marry, the coquettish Elizabeth rejects a string of wealthy European suitors, openly preferring the burning affections of her childhood playmate, the athletic, handsome and married Robert Dudley (Tom Hardy, Colditz, Star Trek: Nemesis). But when Dudley's wife, Amy (Emilia Fox, Henry VIII, The Pianist) is found dead, Elizabeth banishes Dudley, realising the scandal surrounding them could rock the very stability of England.

Amidst an atmosphere of plotting and intrigue, torture and murder, Elizabeth reigned alone for more than 40 years. This captivating drama sees the beguiling queen defend her throne against arch-rival Mary Queen of Scots and lead troops into battle against the Spanish Armada. Zealous and loving, whose duty as monarch always took precedence over her emotions, yet a liberated woman, adamant to reject a political marriage, The Virgin Queen delivers the fears and loathings, loves and pleasures of television's favourite monarch.

Historical & Period Drama
2 Episodes
120 Mins