Belgravia

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Belgravia TV Poster Image
Historical drama about British classism has mature themes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Classism, and the problems it brings, is a major theme throughout the series. The love of children and grandchildren, romance, marriages of convenience, lying, greed, and other themes are also present. 

Positive Role Models

Some characters are inherently good, hard working, and have the best of intentions, but others are liars, schemers, greedy, or will do what they have to do to move up in society. Women are married off with dowries to supply families with money. 

Violence

There are a few violent scenes, including a woman who dies in childbirth covered in blood, and the quick smashing of glass on a man’s head (causing some small face wounds). There are also descriptions of the dead after the Battle of Waterloo. 

Sex

There’s some strong innuendo, including a scene of people getting out of bed. Some women are fooled into having sex with men, while others actively seek extramarital affairs.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown drinking over meals, at clubs, while gambling, etc. as was common for the time. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Belgravia is a British historical drama that highlights the classist social structure of Victorian England. It features some mature themes, including marriages of convenience, extramarital affairs, pregnancy, and death, including a woman dying in childbirth lying in blood. Drinking (wine, sherry, ale) is visible, a gambling addiction is portrayed, and on occasion there is physical violence that causes injury.

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What's the story?

Based on the 2016 novel by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, BELGRAVIA is a fictional historical drama about the tensions between Britain’s nouveau riche, London’s long-established upper class, and the secrets between them. It’s the eve before the Battle of Waterloo, and military supplier James Trenchard (Philip Glenister) is attending the Duchess of Richmond’s ball with his wife Anne (Tasmin Greig) and daughter Sophia (Emily Reid), who happens to be in love with Officer Edmund Ballasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), the son of Earl and Lady Brockenhurst (Tom Wilkinson and Harriet Walter). Twenty-six years later, details about that connection are revealed, the implications of which affect both sides of the class divide.  

Is it any good?

This smart and charming limited series presents a complicated story world in which the class prejudices of Victorian England are challenged by love. The narrowing separation between the country’s established aristocracy and the wealthy middle class (the fortunes of which grew thanks to the Industrial Revolution), is personified by the awkward association between the wealthy, but middle-class, Trenchards and the aristocratic Brockenhursts, whose lives and extended family are now intertwined in various ways due to questionable decisions made nearly three decades prior. 

The consistent pressure of each family to hold on to their place in upper society -- and to ensure that their heirs will do the same -- creates the necessary room for strife, illicit affairs, and potential scandals. Among the lower working class, it’s also a chance to take advantage of their employers’ troubles in order to improve their station in life. But these plot lines also give way to a series of strong relationships, some of which challenge the status quo in their own way. In the end, Belgravia is a solid drama, but also serves as a sharp social commentary about British classism. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Belgravia portrays life in Victorian England. Why is class such an integral part of these family's lives? How did the divisions between the rising middle class and the aristocracy impact economics or politics during that time period?

  • TV and movie writers and producers of period dramas often change historical details, or offer alternative interpretations of historical events, in order to tell a good story. But when does this go too far? Would these dramas be better if they are historically accurate?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love historical dramas

Themes & Topics

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