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Starz Orders Tudor Drama ‘Becoming Elizabeth’

Queen Elizabeth I has been brought to life on screen dozens of times before, but Starz is set to explore her younger years.

The network has ordered a new drama titled “Becoming Elizabeth,” which will tell the story of the early life of one of England’s most iconic Queens.

“Becoming Elizabeth” is being created and written by playwright and TV screenwriter Anya Reiss who will executive produce with The Forge’s George Ormond and George Faber.

“The world of ‘Becoming Elizabeth’ is visceral and dangerous – judgments are rendered quickly and no one is safe,” said Starz CEO Jeffrey A. Hirsch in a statement. “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.

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 series will depict Elizabeth’s  struggles to control her own destiny and take real power as the men around her attempt to claim her sovereignty.

“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,” said Reiss.

Senior vice president of original programming Karen Bailey is the Starz exec in charge of the project.

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