Victoria TV series

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Victoria TV series

Postby colsjt65 » 07 Nov 2016 21:11

I have just watched the first episode of the much anticipated TV series 'Victoria'. Half expected to see a blue Police box appear, but that's another story.

I enjoyed it, but....

From the first fleeting glimpses of a detachment of Guards marching past, waving their arms around, I realised that the makers haven't a clue - once again.
(Rhetorical question) Why, oh why, in this day and age, when there are so many Victorian and Napoleonic re-enactors and other experts available to teach them the correct drill, and FE&E 1822 is readily available, are the soldiers in this series doing Lee Enfield drill????
The parade of 'three regiments' depicted turned out looking like about three companies standing in extended/open order - like the Guards wearing redcoat parade - never.
Having worked in TV and movies, I have first hand experience how clueless filmmakers and public are about military drill, historical or otherwise, that's why they hire people like us.
Rant over...

One sort of serious question - Where was the Duke of Wellington 1838? I was expecting to see him at the Coronation Ball or Coronation itself, but didn't spot anyone with a big nose.

Looking forward to watching the rest of the series.
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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby Redleg56 » 08 Nov 2016 00:40

You are correct. Most filmmakers have either very little or no idea on how to handle Military subjects in films. And when they do hire subject matter experts they will sometimes choose not to listen to their advice. For example 1968's "Charge of the Light Brigade" where the 17th Lancers were portrayed wearing scarlet overalls. That is just one example. Over here in the States things have improved over the years beginning in the 1980's with the TV mini-series "North and South" as well as major films such as "Glory"
and "Gettysburg". Advisors and re-enactors were utilized, and it appears that the filmmakers actually listened to them.

The Duke of Wellington was at Victoria's Coronation, as noted below:

From Christopher Hibbert's "Wellington, A Personal History":

"At her coronation he himself was warmly acclaimed upon his appearance in Westminster Abbey..."

From Elizabeth Longford's "Wellington Pillar of State":

"As the procession preceded Her Majesty out of the Abbey, Wellington's were the loudest cheers..."
Elizabeth Longford also quotes Lady Salisbury's remark that "Ld. Melbourne coloured, and grew pale
again" due to the crowds applause when the Duke touched the new Queen's crown.

The right information is out there for the production people. As you stated, they just need to contact the right individuals.

A good starting point for them would be to join this forum.

Mike
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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby mike snook » 08 Nov 2016 01:23

Wait until they get to the Chartist insurrection in Newport (my place of birth)! What actually happened was that a detachment of the 45th Regiment defended the Westgate Hotel, firing on the mob in front of the building from the barricaded doors and windows. The Grecian style columns in cast metal, either side of the main door, are still there to this day, with several ruddy great holes in them from Chartists' musket balls. Quite an easy event to do justice to - front door, windows, a bit of pushing at doors, mob noises off, some redcoats ramming home, lots of white smoke and a bit of muzzle flash etc....and yet in 'Victoria' they stage the event as a confrontation between about 10 redcoats and an unruly Chartist mob of 15, played out on what appears to be an ornamental bridge across a stream in the grounds of a stately home or other piece of parkland! Hey ho.

Defence cuts in the richest and post powerful country in the world also appear to have hit the household cavalry rather hard at that time, as Queen Victoria never gets escorted anywhere by more than two troopers! These at least look vaguely like household cavalrymen...unlike the first appearance of HMQ's mounted escort, described in the next paragraph, following which somebody with some vague familiarity with military fashion must have spoken up and said, 'whoa hang on a minute'!

The very height of the series' military ghastliness was when her young Majesty, (Episode 1, I think), appeared to be under escort by two members of the Footguards, complete with bearskins, riding horses and...to cap it all....carrying lances! But perhaps I was having a military historian's nightmare in my comfy old TV chair and just imagined it!

As ever

M
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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby jf42 » 08 Nov 2016 01:36

Thus it ever was. Just a few years ago I remember like a poke in the eye, a not-bad Ken Loach film set during the Irish Civil War, in which some rather bulked out (porky) Black and Tans with modern hair cuts, making a dawn raid, scuttled along with SMLES tight into the shoulder, looking along the sights, very professionally, like it was, well, 2006. Turns out they were extras recruited from some TA unit. Right training, wrong period.
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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby Redleg56 » 08 Nov 2016 02:36

Mike:

I believe I had the same nightmare as you lwhile I was watching Season 4 of "Ripper Street". The scene in question depicted Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession through London, again with two mounted Footguards behind the Royal Coach carrying
lances. There was a scene in a previous season where two soldiers appeared to be walking out in London wearing Field Service Equipment.

Jf: The film you mentioned was "The Wind That Shakes The Barley". Those Tans did appear to be pretty well fed.

Mike
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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby QSAMIKE » 08 Nov 2016 02:54

Then there are movies where the makers are very well informed on the uniforms and go to a great deal of effort to make sure that the uniforms are correct but then do a cock-up of the historical events......

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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby mike snook » 08 Nov 2016 16:55

Mike, Oh yes...I wonder if I've confused myself on where I saw the Guards Lancers of Imperial Mounted Foot, because I'm a big fan of Ripper Street. On reflection I think I have, or Bruce would surely have spotted it. What I said about the Chartists and never affording more than 2 Life Guards still holds good though! Bah humbug to 'Ripper Street' then and a half-apology to 'Victoria'! Just to get myself off the hook I noticed also that the officer in the Chartist scene had bars of lace on the chest of his coatee. Bah humbug to 'Victoria' with knobs on! I still watched it avidly you understand!

As ever

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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby timothylrose » 08 Nov 2016 17:13

They did spend sometime talking to people about the uniform for Victoria (particularly the Guards stuff) and within a budget did a half decent attempt at it - like most series their expectation versus budget produced Sharpe sized Battalions etc and they didn't want to pay for advice on the drill etc but thats the way of things - the last major budget for Victorian films really was the remake of "The Four Feathers " which did the kit and equipment and for the most part the drill very well - thanks to the input of certain folk. (But sort of strayed away from the historical facts a fair bit - I can never forgive them for the Martini breechblock explosion personally! - and the fact it took a couple of my marksmen several volleys to not drop the Blue Angel in the charge on the square!!!!!!))

At then end of the day it is entertainment rather than edutainment and maybe should be looked at in that light - as someone who has been involved in quite a bit of tv and film work over the years no matter how much we may care about what we do it's down to the Director and the cutting room floor as to what ends up - you takes their money and they have the final say.
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Re: Victoria TV series

Postby Redleg56 » 08 Nov 2016 17:52

Mike; Same here! After some thoughts along the lines of "they must be kidding", and "take a trip to the Guards Museum" or "join the Victorian Wars Forum, it's free!", I enjoyed Ripper Street also. I watched all of Season 4 in one sitting this past Sunday.

I think Timothy's comment sums it up. It is up to the paymaster to decide what goes on the screen. All we can do is suggest, and grit our teeth.

Reminds me of Military and Naval Affairs a bit. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen recommend, and the politicians do what they want.

Mike
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