August 8, 2022

This romp through the Tudor court shows a poisonous family power struggle with sex at its heart – and with so many fascinating monsters on screen, you won’t be able to look away

What is that look on Jessica Raine’s face in the first few minutes of Becoming Elizabeth (Starzplay)? It is January 1547 and Henry VIII, the husband of her character, Catherine Parr, is newly deceased. On hearing the news, Catherine’s whole being bristles with … relief? Happiness? Plans already afoot? Surely it couldn’t be … arousal?

Becoming Elizabeth, created by Anya Reiss, is a historical drama that lives for those moments of motives unclear. Everyone is plotting at all times, often while joining us in trying to suss out someone else’s ambitions. Yes, it is yet another drama about the Tudors, but it is neither hysterically soapy nor primly reverential. Its heart is salty and black.

Becoming Elizabeth is streamable on Stan in Australia

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