Starz today announced it has given the green light to the series Becoming Elizabeth, created and written by award-winning playwright and television screenwriter Anya Reiss (Spur of the Moment, The Acid Test) who will executive produce with The Forge’s George Ormond (National Treasure, Great Expectations) and George Faber (Shameless, Generation Kill).
Reiss will serve as lead writer on the eight-episode season and be joined by an all-female writing team, including Emily Ballou (Traitors, Taboo, Humans), Anna Jordan (Succession) and Suhayla El- Bushra (Ackley Bridge, Hollyoaks).
“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.”
Becoming Elizabeth is the fascinating story of the early life of England’s most iconic Queen. 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.
Elizabeth struggles to control her own destiny and take real power as the men around her attempt to claim her sovereignty. Her fascinating and factual journey to secure the crown is filled with scheming, betrayal and illicit relationships that threaten to bring forth her demise at a time in which every man or woman of the court is on the wheel of fortune, which may take them to a position of great power one moment, or the executioner’s block the next.
“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.”
Senior Vice President of Original Programming Karen Bailey is the Starz executive in charge of Becoming Elizabeth.