There are quite a lot of things you could buy with £100m, but Netflix spent it making a 10-episode series about the British royal family that’s reportedly even more expensive than HBO’s Game of Thrones. The jewels don’t come cheap, but neither does the sky-high acting talent in The Crown.
In the role of the young Elizabeth II is Claire Foy, who’s previously given stellar performances in award-winning period dramas – she played the title role in BBC’s 2008 adaptation of Little Dorrit, and she was a brilliantly mercurial Queen Anne Boleyn in 2015’s Wolf Hall, adapted from Hilary Mantel’s series of historical novels. And opposite her, as Prince Philip, is Matt Smith of Doctor Who and, er, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies. He was great in it, actually.
Look at the creators of the show, and you’ll be able to tell that the story is in good hands: writer Peter Morgan was behind the 2006 film The Queen, which starred Helen Mirren, and he also wrote the Michael Sheen-starring historical drama Frost/Nixon. Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry is one of a trio of directors, telling what’s being billed as “the inside story of two of the most famous addresses in the world – Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street – and the intrigues, love lives and machinations behind the great events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.”
According to a press release, there are plans for more than one season: “Each season of The Crown will explore the political rivalries and personal intrigues across a decade of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, exploring the delicate balance between her private world and public life.” Season one is about the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth, suddenly confronted with the possibility of taking up the monarchy and having to contend with PM Winston Churchill. We don’t envy her.
Season one of The Crown arrives on Netflix on November 4, 2016.