TV Interview: Laurence Fox discusses joining itv's Victoria.
Critically-acclaimed historical drama, Victoria, returns for a third series on ITV this March.
Produced by leading drama indie Mammoth Screen as a co-production with MASTERPIECE, and created by writer and producer Daisy Goodwin, the brand new series sees critically-acclaimed actress Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) reprise her role as the young Queen, alongside Tom Hughes (Paula) as Prince Albert. Joining the leads, Laurence Fox (Lewis) plays charismatic and wayward Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston, whilst Tony and Olivier Award nominee Kate Fleetwood (Harlots) takes the role of Victoria’s mysterious sister Feodora, who makes an unexpected return into the Queen’s life.
Laurence Fox tells us more…
Was it the chance of a good swagger that drew Laurence Fox to the role of dashing Lord Palmerston in the forthcoming series of Victoria?
" I certainly inserted swagger in good doses! It is a role in which I could push the limits, and the total opposite of my character DI Hathaway in Lewis. Lord Pam, as he was called by the people, is a gregarious, outgoing, wind-up merchant; bright, roguish and erudite. Everything you want in a role.” "Coincidentally, my dad (the actor James Fox) has played him as well. It was so much fun. Obviously no one knows exactly what he was like because he is long since dead and no one is alive who knew him, but it was a joy to play him. He is a deliberately provocative person and he is naughty so that was fun as it taps into my own nature.”
And Laurence admits he relished immersing himself in the Victorian era.
" I love the beautifully tailored clothes and hairstyles, and I got a nice cane which made me look a little bit like Willy Wonka. It's so important to feel like you’re in the right period and so the costumes are really helpful with achieving that. The costume designer for Victoria (Ros Ebbutt) is brilliant and very detailed and took it very seriously."
How did Lord Palmerston get along with Victoria and her Court?
"With Victoria initially he is a bit sceptical mainly because of the fact that she is a female monarch, but once she has proved herself he respects her and her courage. He starts off a little slippery with her but they develop a begrudging mutual respect. However, with Albert, he just treats him like a foreigner. In fact, he says it frequently to Albert. Palmerston is the total opposite of Albert. "With the Queen's sister Feodora, Palmerston has found a sparring partner - I think they would have made a great combination if they'd got together! They are both scheming and both have ulterior motives, a pair of quite self-serving characters. "However, Palmerston is at heart a decent man. He served the country and was interested in what was best for the country, whilst Feodora is mainly interested in what is good for Feodora’s wallet so he realises that if she can serve her wallet and help him out then he can do the same for her, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
But the most entertaining relationship to film was with John Sessions who plays Prime Minister Russell to Palmerston's Foreign Secretary...
"Russell is a dedicated career politician who gets things done. He is not outgoing or gregarious and Palmerston treats him a little bit like a cat would a mouse, but in the end it turns out that Russell is the cat and Palmerston is the mouse. I have known John for years so it was very easy - he is so funny and talented and can make anything funny. We have great chemistry and banter together. "I liked filming the parliamentary scenes at Bradford town hall. It felt very real for some reason and there was lots of politics that I enjoyed. It was the business of the day and felt like a job within a job. "Our writer Daisy (Goodwin) uses the politics to show people now what was happening at the time. You think they’re so far removed from you but it’s not. In fact, it just goes to show that history repeats itself and it was really interesting as you get to see the parallels between then and now and that is quite grounding for the series. It works well and is an interesting angle. You can see that certain personalities through the ages get into the same spats. It is the same old question being asked… do we separate or ally ourselves with the continent?"
Victoria starts next Sunday at 9pm on itv.