Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes have been praised for bringing their chemistry and "electricity" to the screen for the second series of Victoria. The actors, who started dating after meeting on set, are returning to ITV on Sunday, starring as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Speaking at a London press conference, writer and producer Daisy Goodwin heaped compliments on the real-life couple, saying: "They're really good. I think of Victoria and Albert in the roles as sort of [Elizabeth] Taylor and [Richard] Burton.
"I think Tom and Jenna, without drawing any parallels between Taylor and Burton, have that same kind of electricity on screen. They seem utterly convincing as a married couple who love each other but row all the time." Of the explosive argument scenes, which Victoria and Albert were known for, Daisy added: "I was actually thinking more of my own rows with my own husband, and Tom and Jenna are really good at picking that up and running with it."
Tom and Jenna are dating in real life
Victoria series two: watch the trailer
Jenna, 31, added: "It's about shooting quickly and keeping it spontaneous. I think we found the quicker you shoot an argument scene the better. It's almost, don't rehearse it, pick it up, shoot it." The former Doctor Who star reprises her role as the young Victoria in series two, this time learning how to balance motherhood and being a wife with her royal duties. Children and animals were "a huge part of the show" this year, with Victoria falling pregnant again.
The couple with Victoria scriptwriter Daisy Goodwin
"Filming with children and animals is no joke," said Jenna. "It's a complete challenge. We've had parents hid behind pillars with a bag of Doritos in between scenes. We had to cast some puppies as well – there are a lot of animals and babies this year. And what's so lovely, for the Christmas special in particular, the babies are now, you can really feel the family beginning to inhabit the palace. They're talking and walking and becoming characters in their own right. And that's really lovely because you get a sense of the family becoming like the portraits you see."
Her co-star and boyfriend Tom, meanwhile, found the horse riding scenes the real challenge. "Horses don't like me," laughed the actor, 31. "Horses have been a little tricky. They've got better. I was always very committed to them! I've found two chaps – Jasper and Seamus – that I get on quite well with now."
"They seem utterly convincing as a married couple," said Daisy
Jenna, who had an easier time riding side-saddle, said: "My horse Almonzo is a show pony so in between scenes when he gets bored he likes to show off his tricks without me asking to, which often happens if a director comes up to give me a note, and I'll be halfway down the set doing the Spanish walk! It makes me look incredibly proficient, so I'm taking it."
Victoria series two returns to ITV on Sunday 27th August at 9:05pm.