I saw all of the Ben and Polly era as well as all of the Victoria stories during a childhood stay in the UK from '66 to '69. That's why my memories are a bit different from those who've only seen the surviving episodes, albeit not as fresh. I won't defend Victoria, except as a lovely, dewy version of fair and screaming maidenhood
but I do remember Polly as having some guts to her. Alas, unless those missing episodes are somehow retrieved, this argument is doomed to never be solved.