One of the most important rulers in history, Elizabeth I came to the throne at a time when England was under threat of annexation from abroad and collapse from within. When she died after a reign of 45 years, she left behi... more »nd a nation protected by the greatest navy on earth and in the midst of a cultural explosion she made possible. Hosted by the world-renowned historian David Starkey (author of Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne) ELIZABETH explores the life and rule of the woman who gave her name to an era. A compelling blend of dramatic re-creations and incisive commentary brings alive the courtly intrigues and epic conflicts that shaped her reign, opens a window into the Queen's private struggles and convictions, and examines her monumental legacy. The four volumes in this epic set are From the Prison to the Palace, The Virgin Queen, Heart of a King and Gloriana.« less
Entertaining and Educational...The Best of Both Worlds!
Matthew S. Schweitzer | Columbus, OH United States | 07/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This History Channel four part documentary on the life of the famous Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I is an excellent addition to any history enthusiast's video library. Combining commentary with well-done re-enactments, this mini-series chronicles the rise and reign of the most famous queen in history, Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. This series follows her life from her childhood, where she was raised as a lady in a man's world, tossed about after the death of her father, to whom she was devoted, and ultimately spending her adolescence trying to fend off the advances of her step-father. After suffering through the reign on her virulently Catholic half-sister, "Bloody" Mary, Elizabeth finally ascends to the throne of England in time to fend off conspiracies, rebellions, and marriage proposals. We then follow as Elizabeth grows into a powerful and intelligent queen, first by putting down a rebellion instigated by Mary, Queen of Scots, then outmanuevering Spain's Phillip II and defeating his great Armada in the English Channel. Elizabeth's life is a fascinating and entertaining piece of history and this wonderful DVD series does it great justice. Highly recommended."
Documentary of Her Royal Self
J. Kara Russell | Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle | 09/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a really beautiful documentary about the life of Elizabeth. It is not a drama, uses actors primarily without words under narration to tell the life story of Elizabeth. I have watched this several times over.
Similar to other David Starkey narrated histories, there are trace comments which really SHOULD be followed up on, things stated as fact that would be hard to prove outside of conjecture. Some of today's pasty titled folks are trotted out and one wonders how much of an authority they really are, when they mistranslate simple phrases... but that also brings life and light to the "mystique" of station, to see that these really are just people.
The actors are well used, and when they do get to speak, they shine. I especially like that they used two actresses, one for young Elizabeth, another for older. The transition is done well, and helps the time-line progress (they should have done the same thing with Mary).
Not the best docu-history I've ever seen, but very basic, well produced, and worth several viewings."
Born and Raised on Shaky Grounds, Reigned and Died in Glory
Serge J. Van Steenkiste | Atlanta, GA | 07/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Elizabeth, a two-DVD set by The History Channel, will win the hearts and minds of a wide audience. On-location photography in the United Kingdom and Ireland, well-done reenactments, artwork, and the superb narration of historian David Starkey make it possible for viewers to get a better appreciation for Queen Elizabeth I and the impact of her reign on British, European, and world history. Starkey clearly explains how Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, managed to become queen in 1558 C.E. through courage, cunning, and luck. Starkey also shows with conviction that unlike her cousin Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, a Protestant, was an astute politician both domestically and overseas during her nearly 45-year rule. England became a major European power under Elizabeth I's reign. Paradoxically, Mary Stewart, the figurehead of Catholicism, got the last word after her execution for high treason against Elizabeth I in 1587 C.E. Elizabeth I died heirless in 1603 C.E. Mary Stewart's son, James VI of Scotland, became King of England and Scotland as James I after the death of Elizabeth I. To summarize, Elizabeth is a nice addition to the DVD library of any person fond of history."
Elizabeth 1 comes to Life in this Wonderful Documentary
vessie@oz | Australia | 04/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I caught this and King Henry V111 six wives on ABC in 2004 and I was pleased to able to find the DVD of this wonderful production. David Starkey does a excellent job as always in bring this wonderful Queen of England in the 16th Century to life. You get to see and hear the Straggles that Elizabeth went through in order to gain the crown. The actors used in the documentary all do the production justice. I would Recommend this DVD to anyone who loves history or/and want to learn more about Tutor England. The DVD itself is of a high Quality. Clear sharp pictures and sound. Well worth the price."
Very well-dressed and never uncertain
Julia M. Walker | NY Finger Lakes | 07/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Brit telly-don David Starkey has the bit firmly between his teeth. There is no ambiguity here, no sense of the great debates that have raged over all aspects of Elizabeth's life. Starkey -- he used to be a real academic -- gives his opinions as unquestioned facts: Elizabeth was sexually abused; Elizabeth decided to remain a virgin while still in her teens and after reading patristic celebrations of celibacy; Elizabeth didn't sleep with Robin Dudley but she truly loved the Frog.
OK, I know that nuance isn't Channel 4's thing, but this is shockingly homogenized, rather like ice cream -- soft and sweet. Would I have been less offended by an actual television presenter with these opinions? Yes. Starkey's academic past gives him an authority that -- at least in this case -- is too easy to accept.
Those of us who have watched Starkey for years, whether in BBC doc.os or at conferences, will remember a slightly scruffy chap with elbow patches and rumpled hair. No more: he is transformed by a splendid suiting, heavy make-up, and sterling-silvered smoothness into someone with whom none would dare demure. And -- don't get me wrong -- he does get off some great lines. My favorite is his statement that Pope "signed a fatwah" on Elizabeth. The shock value actually works there. On the other hand, saying that Elizabeth loathed war because she couldn't lead her own armies and had to trust them to men to lead them is willfully simplistic.
There are many reasons why Elizabeth dreaded war, and that's hardly the most significant.
There are other academics on the stage from time to time, but they appear uncredited and they all agree with Starkey.
The background music is effective and the production values are quite high. "Biography" fans will see none of those tatty Halloween costumes and bad wigs here; it's not Merchant Ivory time, but things look pretty good -- both pretty and good.
Thucydides claims that historians give us unvarnished truth; he would be very proud of his great-great-grandson David. (Unless, of course, Thucydides had become a Papist. . . )"