After binging The Crown, brush up on Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother on PBS Masterpiece’s Victoria (debuts Sunday, Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. ET). Doctor Who‘s Jenna Coleman, 30, plays the famously short teen queen — and never comes up short herself.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Queen Victoria ruled the U.K. for more than 60 years and is one of the most famous people to ever live. What’s the strangest fact you learned about her?
JENNA COLEMAN: Apparently her favorite drink was claret and whiskey, which I’m very much looking forward to embarking on in the future.
You wear a lot of dresses on the show. How much time did you spend getting dressed?
A long time, I have to say. What’s fabulous is, because she’s pregnant nine times, I wear a latex bump without a corset for quite a lot of it, which is very exciting.
Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, is played by Tom Hughes [whom Coleman is reportedly dating]. Were you involved in his casting?
Yeah. It was one of those scary things that you have to get right. We’ve been friends for about seven years. I saw a picture of him with a mustache — we were having a drink, and I asked, “Can you do a German accent?” He was already top of the producers’ list.
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How was working with the Cavalier King Charles spaniel who plays Victoria’s dog Dash?
She knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s played Dash before, in The Young Victoria, with Emily Blunt. In most of my scenes with her, I’m holding a miniature sausage in my hand to bribe her.
Apparently there is some other show about British royalty called The Crown, which features your Doctor Who costar Matt Smith. Have you two compared notes?
[Laughs] I think both of us tried to work out our [characters’] relationship to each other. It’s funny, he’s filming the second season in London. I’ve seen all the first, which I think is fantastic.
We already know Victoria will have a second season. In an ideal world, how long will the show run?
It depends on appetite and the pacing. There’s so much story, it could run for 60-odd years!