First aired 2006-01 on British Broadcasting Corporation
The Virgin Queen is a 2005 BBC and Power co-production, four-part miniseries based upon the life of Queen Elizabeth I, starring Anne-Marie Duff. As a drama, it focused heavily on Elizabeth's private life - particularly her relationship with Robert Dudley, and explored the politics of her reign in rather less depth. It was originally intended to air first on the BBC in September 2005, but as the date would have coincided with the release of the Channel 4 two-part mini Elizabeth I, it was decided to delay the BBC release until January 2006, two months after the US opening in November 2005 on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre. Ewen Bremner appeared in both productions. Despite being a biopic of Elizabeth's life and reign, the series presented its main character with particular interest in several themes, most notably the emotional impact of her mother's execution and her love for Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. The drama played up the ambiguity of Elizabeth's virginity, featuring a scene where Elizabeth fantasizes about making love to Dudley. However, Anne-Marie Duff later stated that the director and scriptwriter explicitly told her to play the queen as a lifelong virgin.