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British viewers were shocked by the portrayal of the Famine in last night's episode of Victoria

“I wasn’t taught these things, but it’s important history not to be forgotten.”

WHEN THE SECOND season of ITV’s Victoria began in August, viewers wondered if it would dare broach the subject of the Irish Famine, which took place during Queen Victoria’s reign.

_97504654_victoria5_itv ITV ITV

And it did: Last night’s episode focused on the Queen’s reaction to the Famine, in which one million Irish people died and a further two million emigrated.

Martin Compston played Dr Robert Traill, a real-life campaigner for Famine victims in Cork – Traill is the great-great-great grandfather of Daisy Goodwin, novelist and screenwriter for Victoria.

martin-compston-victoria-b55e3bb ITV ITV

Goodwin said that she went through historical documents to write dialogue for Sir Charles Trevelyan, who famously described the Famine as “the judgement of God” and an “effective mechanism for reducing surplus population.”

Everything Trevelyan says about Ireland is based on historical documents… The ignorance in the UK of what happened in the Famine is shocking.

She was right – lots of British viewers tweeted that they were shocked at the episode, admitting that they had learned little to nothing about the Famine at school.

Others thanked Goodwin and the writers of the show for highlighting the true horror of the Famine years:

The episode has been praised by reviewers for giving a “good sense of the appalling attitudes of many in Victoria’s government” towards the Famine – you can judge that for yourself when it airs this Thursday at 9pm on be3.

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