This series shows seventies drama at its best. You may wonder whether it's the subject, the writing or the actors that are responsible for its success.
The story of the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century is filled with remarkable changes in society. The Victorian Age was the apex of British hegemony. Decisions made by the British Royal Family had an effect all over the world. At the same time it's a period known for its conservative values, for its puritanical, emotionless look on life. (Strange, considering that Dickens wrote his melodramatic works in those days.) The historic events and the strained emotions give enough material for interesting drama.
The scriptwriters (there were only two, one of whom directed all the episodes as well) had a wealth of interesting quotes to insert in the scripts, especially when Queen Victoria gave her opinion.
Perhaps most amazing is the amount of great actors showing up. (There are a lot of characters in this series. The viewers were asked to pay attention.) Sir John Gielgud played Disraeli, long before it was accepted for famous actors to appear on television. But the show belongs to Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria and Timothy West as Edward. West makes Edward a loveable rogue and a decent man. If any criticism should be given, it's perhaps that the series glossed over the darker side of its main character.