British TV viewers have expressed their shock at the portrayal of the Famine in last Sunday night's episode of Victoria.

The ITV period drama – broadcast here in Ireland by be3 on Thursdays - focused on the Queen Victoria's reaction to the Famine in which a million Irish people were killed and a further two million emigrated.

Martin Compston played Dr Robert Traill, a real-life campaigner for Famine victims in Cork. Traill is the great-great-great grandfather of Daisy Goodwin, novelist and screenwriter for Victoria, which stars Jenna Coleman as the eponymous monarch.

Goodwin said that she went through historical documents to write dialogue for Charles Trevelyan, who famously described the Famine as "the judgement of God" and an "effective mechanism for reducing surplus population."

"Everything Trevelyan says about Ireland is based on historical documents," she said. "The ignorance in the UK of what happened in the Famine is shocking."

Many British viewers tweeted to state that they were shocked at the episode, admitting that they had learned little or nothing about the Famine at school.

The relevant episode of Victoria can be seen this Thursday on be3 at 9.00pm.