Fans of period dramas, get ready for some awesome news! ITV has commissioned a major new series focussing on the life of Queen Victoria.

The channel’s director of drama Steve November has given the green light to an eight-part series that will follow the early life of Britain’s longest reigning monarch, who ascended to the throne at the age of 18 in 1837 and died in 1901.

Buckingham PalaceNew period drama concerning Queen Victoria on the way from ITV

Casting is now under way for the ambitious drama, but the behind-the-scenes crew has already been announced. Much-lauded novelist Daisy Goodwin has been handed her screenwriting debut, and will be working with Mammoth Screen (the producers behind BBC’s ‘Poldark’) to bring it to life. Filming is to commence in September in a number of locations around the UK.

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The Telegraph reports that the new series, as yet untitled, is expected to take the Sunday night slot vacated by ‘Downton Abbey’ when it finally winds up this Christmas – whether this means we’ll have to wait until the autumn of 2016 to see the new series, it isn’t quite clear.

Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen said in reaction: “Queen Victoria’s court is the perfect setting for an epic drama – a seething hotbed of scandal, corruption and romantic intrigue, involving everyone from the humblest dresser to the Mistress of the Robes, the lowliest bootboy to the Lord Chamberlain.” More upstairs-downstairs drama then, we take it.

Goodwin also expressed her excitement at the news, explaining what she found so appealing about the iconic monarch. “Victoria was the first woman to have it all,” she said, who “had a passionate marriage, nine children and was grandmother to most of Europe's royalty, but she also had a job, being Queen of the most important nation in the world.”

She continued: “It wasn't easy; her reign was beset by scandal and sleaze and it was only by sheer force of personality that she prevailed. Her diaries, all sixty two million words of them, give an astonishingly vivid picture of her transformation from rebellious teenager into, to my mind, our greatest Queen.”

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