This drama-documentary has the potential to be the definitive Drake film. However, it fails to make an impact. This is a pity because it is well researched: accurate in events and language. Left as a documentary, it could have been superb, but as a drama it fails. My reasons are three-fold. Firstly, the whole film has a brooding, dark almost gothic atmosphere, which spoils it. This could partly explain its lack of popularity and why is was not commercially released. Secondly, the mode for telling the story of the circumnavigation via a series of flashbacks, as Drake relates the story to Elizabeth, is confusing. Thirdly, these two actors were not in character. I am quite a fan of John Thaw but have to say, that as Drake, he was hopeless - playing him as dour and moody, Morse in doublet and hose - and Charlotte Cornwall, portrayed the forceful Gloriana, as a delicate refined ladylike heroine, straight out of the pages of Mills and Boon. one cannot help but visualise how good it could have been, if the Thaw and Cornwall combination had been a Taylor and Worth, a Morgan and Kent or a Woodvine and Jackson combination. Westward Television Productions, might have had a winner on their hands.
For a world voyage, I expected to view a dramatic change of location. Instead the variety was confined to Wembury Bay in Devon! which cannot reveal the vast expanse of isolation like the real St Julian harbour. Drake and Nuño de Silva were well cast. Thaw portrays Drake as resolute in leadership and decision making.
There was extensive use of the so-called replica of the Golden Hind, resulting in every imaginable camera angle.
There was good use of Elizabethan language, at a level that could be understood by the viewers.
The few errors are: