he boyish face seen in Brideshead Revisited is creased and weather-beaten; Jeremy Irons now has the necessary wrinkles to play the Earl of Leicester, advisor and sometime lover to Elizabeth I's queen in the HBO two-parter. The actor looks as though he indeed has spent much of his adult life meeting the amorous and political demands of the capricious Queen of England. He captures Leicester's gruff soldier's exterior, roughly pushing aside supplicants to the monarch, while managing to convey conflicted feelings for Elizabeth, torn between his love for her and his ambitions. They are locked in a dance of attraction and repulsion, unable to consummate their romance or to break it off. In a telling scene, the amorous phase of their relationship comes to an abrupt end when the queen learns Leicester has secretly wed a widow. The look of devastation on Irons' face as Elizabeth closes the door on him is shattering. Irons has two previous Emmy nominations, winning in 1997 for his voiceover performance in The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century.