Mirren approaches the Virgin Queen as part coquette, part dominatrix, part earth mother, and many shades in between. The result is a portrait that accurately reflects what we know of Elizabeth's fascinating character. In Mirren's hands, Elizabeth emerges like a great lost Shakesperean role. It is a brilliant turn from this most compelling of actresses.
The supporting cast are also superb, with a well-cast Jeremy Irons as Elizabeth's great love-that-never-was, the Earl of Leicester. The performances are combined with sumptous production values that give a real flavour of the times (with some particuarly flavoursome execution scenes).
This is essential viewing. Full stop.