Starz has commissioned as a new original series Becoming Elizabeth, which will tell the story of the early life of England’s most iconic Queen.
Becoming Elizabeth is created and written by award-winning playwright and television screenwriter Anya Reiss (Spur of the Moment, The Acid Test). Reiss will serve as lead writer on the eight-episode season and be joined by an all-female writing team.
Emily Ballou (Traitors, Taboo, Humans), Anna Jordan (Succession) and Suhayla El-Bushra (Ackley Bridge, Hollyoaks) will join Reiss on the writing team. The Forge’s George Ormond (National Treasure, Great Expectations) and George Faber (Shameless, Generation Kill) will also serve as executive producers alongside Reiss.
Long before she ascended the throne, young Elizabeth Tudor was an orphaned teenager who became embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court. With no clear heir, the death of King Henry the VIII sets into motion a dangerous scramble for power. His surviving children find themselves pawns in a game between the great families of England and the powers of Europe who vie for control of the country.
“The world of Becoming Elizabeth is visceral and dangerous—judgments are rendered quickly and no one is safe,” said Starz CEO Jeffrey A. Hirsch. “This series explores the Tudor Reign and young Elizabeth, who would become England’s ‘Gloriana’ and one of history’s most dynamic figures, through a new lens which we think viewers will find highly engaging.”
“This is Elizabeth as you’ve never seen her before, a teenager finding her way in a treacherous world, and in Anya’s hands she’s a truly electrifying character,” said Ormond. “Starz immediately embraced the ambition and vision of the series and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with them on it.”
Reiss added, “Drama seems to skip straight from Henry VIII’s turnstile of wives to an adult white-faced Gloriana. Missing out boy kings, religious fanatics, secret affairs and a young orphaned teenager trying to save herself from the vicious scramble to the top. I should have found it hard to relate to 500-year-old royalty but Elizabeth lived in dangerous, polarising times and often made terrible hormone-fuelled decisions. I’ve found writing her story a thrilling experience.”