Becoming Elizabeth: Alicia von Rittberg and Tom Cullen star in historical drama exploring the origin story of young Elizabeth Tudor

Alicia von Rittberg plays Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth I in a STARZ Original about the young Elizabeth Tudor before she ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth I.

By Sophia Moir Published: 6 May 2022 - 8.16pm

Alicia von Rittberg and Tom Cullen star in Becoming Elizabeth as Elizabeth I and Thomas Seymour

With the Platinum Jubilee coming up soon, you’d be forgiven for focusing on Queen Elizabeth II’s historic 70-year reign.

But a new historical drama will give royal fans a fascinating look at the untold story of the early life of one of England’s most iconic monarchs, Elizabeth Tudor, before she became Queen Elizabeth I.

Becoming Elizabeth, a STARZ Original, boasts a cast including Alicia von Rittberg (Fury), Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife) and Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey) all playing real-life characters from Tudor history. 

Here, we reveal everything we know so far about Becoming Elizabeth, including the confirmed release date, plot, cast and characters list, trailer, and more.

What is the release date of Becoming Elizabeth?

Becoming Elizabeth will premiere on Sunday 12 June on STARZPLAY.

All eight episodes of the STARZ Original will be available to watch globally on the same date. 

STARZPLAY is available as an add-on channel to Prime Video.

What is STARZPLAY on Prime Video and how do I watch it?

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What’s the plot of Becoming Elizabeth?

Long before she ascended the throne, young Elizabeth Tudor (Alicia von Rittberg) was an orphaned teenager who became embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court. 

The death of her father King Henry VIII sets into motion a dangerous scramble for power as his nine-year-old son Edward VI (Oliver Zetterström) is crowned King, and he and his sisters become pawns for the great families of England and the powers of Europe who vie for control of the country. 

To survive, the young Elizabeth Tudor must learn the rules quickly at a time in which every man or woman of the court is on the wheel of fortune, which may take them to a position of great power one moment, or the executioner’s block the next. 

Judgements are rendered quickly, and no one is safe. 

Is there a trailer for Becoming Elizabeth?

Yes, you can watch the Becoming Elizabeth full-length trailer below:

You can also watch a behind-the-scenes video from filming at the top of this page.

Who’s in the cast of Becoming Elizabeth?

The main cast are:

  • Alicia von Rittberg (Fury, Charité, Genius) as Elizabeth I.

  • Romola Garai (The Hour, The Miniaturist, Atonement) as Mary I.

  • Jessica Raine (The Informer, Line of Duty, Call The Midwife) as Catherine Parr.

  • Tom Cullen (Weekend, Black Mirror, Downton Abbey) as Thomas Seymour.

  • Jamie Blackley (Greed, If I Stay, The Last Kingdom) as Robert Dudley.

  • Oliver Zetterström (The Midnight Gang, White House Farm) as Edward I.

  • Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones, The Worst Witch) as Lady Jane Grey.

  • Jamie Parker (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) as John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland.

Further cast members include John Heffernan as Duke of Somerset, Jacob Avery as Guildford Dudley, Alexandra Gilbreath as Kat Ashley, Leo Bill as Henry Grey, Ekow Quartey as Pedro, Alex Macqueen as Stephen Gardiner, Olivier Huband as Ambassador Guzman, and Robert Whitelock as Robert Kett.

Who are the historical characters in Becoming Elizabeth?

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I in Becoming Elizabeth STARZPLAY

Also known as Elizabeth Tudor, and the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I is the second of Henry VIII’s three children, born to his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She’s a teenager who thinks she is an adult, and old enough to play the games that she is thrown into after the death of her father. 

She wants to keep her siblings together, but it proves an impossible task as she treads a delicate path through their opposing religious views. Her brother Edward VI and sister Mary I are not the only people pulling Elizabeth in different directions.

Elizabeth’s love for her stepmother Catherine Parr is tested by Catherine’s new husband Thomas Seymour and his flirtatious attention, which both flatters and scares her.

Queen Mary I

Mary I, also known as Mary Tudor (and Bloody Mary by her opponents), is Henry VIII’s eldest child and the daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. 

Mary is equally devoted to her God and her little brother Edward VI who is now King of England. It cleaves her in two that her twin devotions are entirely incompatible. For if she honours one, she dishonours the other.

Catherine Parr

Catherine Parr is Henry VIII’s widow and the last of his six wives. A clever, educated woman, she played the part of Regent once during Henry’s illness and bitterly resents that she is not able to play it again. 

As the young King Edward VI ascends to the throne, Catherine is left on the sidelines, but is at last free to pursue her former lover, the King’s uncle Thomas Seymour.

Thomas Seymour

Tom Cullen as Thomas Seymour STARZPLAY

Thomas Seymour is simultaneously charming, playful and funny whilst being hot-headed, ambitious and possibly dangerous. He expects the spoils that ought naturally to fall to the King’s uncle. 

His ambitions are ruined by the schemes of his older brother Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, who quickly seizes the position of Lord protector to the new boy King. 

He marries his former lover, the dowager queen Catherine Parr, for both power and love but then his eye falls on the teenage Elizabeth and a whole new pathway to power opens up in front of him.

Who created Becoming Elizabeth?

Becoming Elizabeth is created by Anya Reiss, who also serves as an executive producer. She’s a British playwright and screenwriter who has written several episodes of EastEnders and Ackley Bridge. 

Who else has played Elizabeth I on screen?

In 2018, Margot Robbie transformed into Elizabeth I for the film Mary Queen of Scots, starring alongside Saoirse Ronan who played Elizabeth I’s cousin Mary. Robbie received a BAFTA nomination for her portrayal of the Virgin Queen. 

Cate Blanchett also took on the character of Elizabeth I for the 1998 film Elizabeth and  its 2007 follow-up, Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Both films earned her Oscar nominations for Best Actress. 

One actress who did win an Oscar for playing Elizabeth is Dame Judi Dench. Dame Judi won the Best Supporting Actress award for playing the Virgin Queen in 1998 romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love. With a screen time of just seven minutes, Dench holds the record for the shortest performance ever to win an Academy Award. 

Watch Becoming Elizabeth if you liked…

The Tudors, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Victoria, The White Queen, The Other Boleyn Girl, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Crown, Outlander, Bridgerton.

 

Becoming Elizabeth premieres Sunday 12 June on STARZPLAY.

STARZPLAY is available as an add-on channel to Prime Video.