Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome and compelling, 31 July 2013
This review is from: David Starkey's Elizabeth [VHS][1999] (VHS Tape)
A really consummate and compelling journey with David Starkey charting the amazing life of one of England's greatest monarchs. Starkey in this exciting documentary complete with Starkey's penetrating presentation, historic locations and wonderful dramatic presentations begins with Elizabeth I's birth and her perilous childhood as well as her skill since early childhood at speech and diplomacy.

We observe the continued danger during the reigns of her brother Edward VI, and particularly her sister Mary I (Bloody Mary) , times in which she came under suspicion of being involved in treasonous plots and was closely watched and kept in semi-captivity.
We observe how she was sexually abused by her stepfather Thomas Seymour, and the resultant interrogations she suffered. this documentary also demonstrates how close she came to the scaffold during her sister Mary's reign.

It is an account of how in 45 years she took England from being a weak,impoverished and divided country and with the able assistance of her chief minister William Cecil she overcame all her difficulties making a religious settlement some way towards satisfying both Protestants and Catholics and fending off England's enemies, particularly Spain and France while building up England into a formidable power and building up that country's navy.

Starkey does not spare her criticism and shows her negative qualities of cunning and the ruthlessness which she put down the he Rising of the North of 1569. Good focus on Mary Queen of Scots (played by the very pretty Séana Montague) but strangely enough while Elizabeth (Karen Archer) is shown as ageing , the recreation of Mary at her trial 20 years after her captivity at Fotheringham shows her as young and beautiful as the early footage of Seana as Mary.

Starkey explains how Mary was trapped by the cunning Francis Walsingham into agreeing to a plot against Elizabeth, and the reluctance with which Elizabeth agreed to execute Mary. She also seemed to be greatly remorseful after she signed Mary's death warrant, but Starkey seems to think some of her anguish was crocodile tears.

Powerful footage of England's dramatic victory over the invading Spanish Armada in 1588. Very interesting here is how we see firstly how unpopular Elizabeth was towards the end of her reign and how close Robert Devereaux, erstwhile favourite of elizabeth came to deposing her in his attempted coup de tat.

Also great portrayal of Elizabeth's stubborn refusal to take to bead in her last days. At a time when English history is being downscaled in schools and universities in order not to offend certain groups, the English children and young people are being robbed of a central part of their heritage and identity. Series like these are welcome and refreshing.
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