Roll out the red carpet, because we’ve got a royal announcement to make. From Friday 4th November, brand new series The Crown –the ambitious, ultra-lavish, big-budget dramatisation of Queen Elizabeth II’s life – arrives on Netflix and it’s about to become the crown jewel in your autumn viewing schedule. It’s also a first for Netflix, as their first British production.
If you haven’t heard of it, here’s everything you need to know about the opulent series, with a little help from Dexter’s John Lithgow who, naturally, is playing Winston Churchill.
Each season (oh yes, there’s more to come!) will cover a decade of her life, beginning in 1947 with Her Majesty’s marriage to Prince Philip, a member of the Danish and Greek royal families. As well as adjusting to married life, we’ll also see her cope with the loss of her father (after King George VI’s untimely death), and the small matter of acceding to the throne aged just 25, with a little help from Winston Churchill. “I love their unique relationship, him helping her become Queen” Lithgow tells us. “It’s like Educating Rita.”
How will the tension play out between the Queen’s poised public persona and the complexities of her personal relationships? As the trailer tells us: “The crown must win. Must always win.”
Claire Foy – who has already played a queen as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall – takes the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. “She’s wonderful,” Lithgow gushes. “Claire Foy can do no wrong.” Matt Smith (Doctor Who himself) cuts a very dashing figure as Prince Philip, Vanessa Kirby (Me Before You) shines as Princess Margaret and Jared Harris (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) is a dutiful King George VI.
As for John Lithgow as a cantankerous Winston Churchill (above), there is method in the surprising casting of the famously comic actor. “If there is any comic relief in The Crown, it’s through Churchill,” he tells us. “Any serious show benefits from those wry, comic moments and I think I brought a lot of that into it.” That being said, it’s not a role to be taken lightly. “He’s a very precious, iconic figure for Englishmen. I felt an enormous responsibility to do an honourable job.”
The masterminds behind it
Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) directs. Peter Morgan, the man behind The Queen and Frost/Nixon, has written the script. Morgan says the show grew out of his fascination with the relationship between a 77-year-old prime minister at the end of his career, and a young woman at the beginning of hers. “He knows that side of Churchill very well and writes wonderfully for that,” says Lithgow. “I have some fantastic lines.”
Royal dramas are really in the zeitgeist…
From Versailles to Victoria, we can’t get enough. Lucky for us, this is a ten-part show with at least a two-season commitment. All hail!
Keep an eye out next week for more exclusives from The Crown…
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