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ITV Orders Up Second Season of Glittery Royal Drama ‘Victoria’

ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial broadcaster, has ordered a second season of hit period drama “Victoria,” about the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign.

The show has become ITV’s top-rated drama of 2016 since its debut last month, and will be broadcast in the U.S. starting Jan. 15 on PBS, in the Sunday night “Downton Abbey” slot. The show stars Jenna Coleman of “Doctor Who” fame as the young monarch and Tom Hughes as her husband, Prince Albert.

“Even though she reigned in the 19th century, Victoria is a heroine for our times,” said screenwriter and executive producer Daisy Goodwin.

Coleman and Hughes have been confirmed to return for the second season, which will be written by Goodwin and produced by U.K. independent Mammoth Screen. Goodwin said that the new season will focus on the “very modern dilemma of how to juggle children with her husband and her job.”

“Mammoth and Daisy Goodwin have brought the characters so vividly to life in this series, and we’re thrilled with the reception for ‘Victoria,’” said Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, who announced the re-commission Friday with head of drama Polly Hill.

The new season will also see Paul Frift return as producer. Goodwin will serve as executive producer alongside Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer and Kate McKerrell.

Timmer hinted at the potential for even more seasons for the costume drama, whose title character occupied the British throne for more than 60 years, second only to her great-great-granddaughter the current queen, Elizabeth II. “The next few years of Victoria’s reign are packed full of extraordinary real-life events, with constitutional crises, scandals at court and personal challenges aplenty for the queen and Prince Albert,” Timmer said.

“Victoria” is a co-production with PBS Masterpiece and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The season opener in Britain last month averaged 7.7 million viewers and a 29.7% share, based on consolidated overnights.

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