ITV viewers split over Irish famine portrayal

ITV viewers split Irish famine portrayal

There were some strong reactions to a Sunday night prime time drama last weekend, as many viewers aired their thoughts about the depiction of the potato famine in Victoria.

Sunday night’s episode of Victoria saw the young queen, played by Jenna Coleman, struggling to deal with the famine in Ireland and viewers were both moved and frustrated by the show’s heartbreaking portrayal of the tragedy.

The episode saw Queen Victoria contest with Prime Minister Robert Peel, who was reluctant to send aid to Ireland for fear it would destabilise his party and put his political career in jeopardy. She was seen to send £2,000 to help out, and Line of Duty’s Martin Compston played Dr Robert Traill, an Irish reverend who appealed to Queen Victoria for help on behalf of his people.

Fans of the show were shocked to learn of the extent of the damage caused by the famine, and UK viewers were surprised at how little they had been informed of the crop failure between 1845 and 1849.

Some Irish viewers were surprised at the lack of knowledge, but also took to Twitter to air their frustrations that the programme was not entirely historically accurate.

Others used the social media site to praise the show’s creator, Daisy Goodwin, for highlighting the event which cost one million people their lives, as well as huge emigration.

Ms Goodwin responded to the comments by stating that she was surprised at the level of ignorance surrounding the issue, calling it ‘shocking’ and that many attitudes in the UK towards the famine were ‘victim blaming’. She also revealed that Dr Traill, depicted in the show, was a distant relative of hers.


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