Elizabeth R (Part 3) - The Enterprise of England
This is an episode from the much acclaimed early 1970s television series. A series which fully deserves every plaudit and award that it won. I would recommend fellow members to buy it because it is scripted by John Prebble and researched by Lacy Baldwin Smith. Its accuracy is spot-on but there is another reason. John Woodvine is Drake and Glenda Jackson is Elizabeth. This is how they were, warts and all. Their acerbic exchanges which come over so well include, from Elizabeth:
"I thought I'd hanged you."
"I have men who love me as dearly as you Francis Drake and made less noise about it."
"I can hear your quarter-deck whisper"
and, from an increasingly exasperated Drake:
"Oh for God's sake against what, a sea-sick orange grower."
"Oh God if the Queen were only a man."
"Your sailors are cutting sticks for a crust."
"No man would so order it,"
Elizabeth and Drake never fully understood each other and the Enterprise of England puts over their lack of patience with each other's aims very pertinently. With just a look, Glenda Jackson conveys a thought which Elizabeth must often have had if you were not so useful and so popular, "I'd have you in the tower" and John Woodvine, also without speaking beautifully, conveys a contempt for a landsman's lack of foresight and you can almost see his thoughts which Drake, also, probably had. "Shut up woman and let those of us who can do the job get on with it."
The scene at Sagres is very atmospheric, with Drake regretting that Henry the Navigator's library had been burnt.
The Enterprise of England also portrays Drake's friendship with Walsingham, their exchanges are very characteristic of the real mean displaying Walsingham's talent for dry asides and Drake's dry ready wit to very good effect.
The scene where Drake and Howard discuss tactics is also well crafted.
The Enterprise of England like Seven Sea To Calais and the Sir Francis Drake TV series, portrays Drake as a human being rather, than a historical icon - showing his humour, lack of tact, impatience and charm.
This video is constantly reissued.