The Crown (TV series)
The Crown is a biographical drama television series, created and written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. The show is a biographical story about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The first season covers the period from her marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Princess Margaret's engagement to Peter Townsend in 1955. A second season has been commissioned, which is intended to cover the Suez Crisis in 1956 through the retirement of the Queen's third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, in 1963 following the Profumo affair political scandal.
|Created by||Peter Morgan|
|Written by||Peter Morgan|
|Theme music composer||Hans Zimmer|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||54–61 minutes|
|Picture format||4K (Ultra HD)|
|Original release||November 4, 2016– present|
The Crown evolved out of Morgan's 2006 film The Queen and 2013 stage play The Audience. The series is intended to last 60 episodes over six seasons, with 10 one-hour episodes per season, covering the Queen's entire life, and with new actors being cast every two seasons. Claire Foy portrays the Queen in the first two seasons, alongside Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret. Filming for the series takes place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with location shooting at various locations throughout the United Kingdom.
The entire first season was released on Netflix on November 4, 2016, with the second scheduled to be released on December 8, 2017. The Crown has received overwhelmingly positive reception, with critics praising cast performances, direction, writing, cinematography, production values, and the relatively accurate historical accounts of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Significant praise in the first season was directed towards the performances of Foy in the leading role and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill. The series and its stars have been nominated for, and won, numerous awards, including Best Actress and Best Actor at the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards for Foy and Lithgow, respectively, and best drama, writing, and directing at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.
The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 to the present day. The first season depicts events up to 1955, with Claire Foy portraying the Queen in the early part of her reign. The second season is intended to cover from the Suez Crisis in 1956 through the retirement of the Queen's third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, in 1963 following the Profumo affair political scandal. A third season will include Princess Margaret's five-year affair with baronet and gardening expert Roddy Llewellyn.
- Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth and later Queen Elizabeth II
- Matt Smith as Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Elizabeth's husband
- Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Elizabeth's younger sister
- Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary, Elizabeth's grandmother
- Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth, George VI's wife and Elizabeth's mother, later known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to differentiate her from her daughter, Elizabeth, after her daughter became Queen
- Alex Jennings as Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, who had abdicated in favour of his younger brother Bertie to marry Wallis Simpson; known to his family as David
- Lia Williams as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, the wife of Edward
- Jeremy Northam as Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secretary, who succeeds Churchill as Prime Minister
- Ben Miles as Group Captain Peter Townsend, George VI's equerry, who hopes to marry Princess Margaret
- Greg Wise as Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Philip's ambitious uncle and great-grandson of Queen Victoria
- Jared Harris as King George VI, Elizabeth's father, known to his family as Bertie
- Stephen Dillane as Graham Sutherland, a noted artist who paints a portrait of the aging Churchill
- John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, the Queen's first Prime Minister
- Harry Hadden-Paton as Martin Charteris
- Andy Sanderson as Prince Henry
- Michael Culkin as Rab Butler
- Nicholas Rowe as Jock Colville
- Harriet Walter as Clementine Churchill
- Pip Torrens as Tommy Lascelles
- Simon Chandler as Clement Attlee
- Clive Francis as Lord Salisbury
- Patrick Ryecart as Duke of Norfolk
- Nicholas Jones as Lord Moran
- Paul Sheridan as Eden's Aide
- David Shields as Colin Tennant
- Kate Phillips as Venetia Scott
- Matthew Goode as Antony Armstrong-Jones, a society photographer who marries Princess Margaret.
- Michael C. Hall as John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
- Jodi Balfour as Jacqueline Kennedy, the First Lady of the United States.
- Anton Lesser as Harold Macmillan, who followed Anthony Eden as Prime Minister.
Season 1 (2016)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Wolferton Splash"||Stephen Daldry||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|In 1947, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark renounces his royal titles and foreign relations in order to marry Princess Elizabeth, King George VI's elder daughter and heiress presumptive to the British crown. The newlyweds move to Malta, where Philip joins the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant-Commander and Elizabeth gives birth to her son Charles and her daughter Anne. In 1951, the couple returns to London when King George undergoes surgery for lung cancer. After being told he has months to live, the King counsels Philip how to assist Elizabeth as she becomes the new sovereign. After six years of a Labour Party-controlled government, former Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine return to Downing Street.|
|2||2||"Hyde Park Corner"||Stephen Daldry||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|In 1952, with King George still in ill health, Elizabeth and Philip tour the Commonwealth in his place. While the couple is on safari in Kenya, the King is found dead in his bed. His wife Queen Elizabeth, younger daughter Margaret, and widowed mother Queen Mary mourn as news of George's sudden passing spreads via radio to the rest of the world. Philip breaks the news to Elizabeth, who returns to the United Kingdom as Queen and reunites with her family in their grief.|
|3||3||"Windsor"||Philip Martin||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|As the Royal Family prepares for King George's funeral, Elizabeth's uncle Edward, who has been living in France with his wife Wallis since his abdication, returns to the United Kingdom, causing his mother and sister-in-law to reopen decades-old wounds. Elizabeth meets with Churchill to discuss Philip's demands that their family keeps his name of Mountbatten and lives at Clarence House rather than move to Buckingham Palace. Churchill is reluctant to bend to either request, but Elizabeth later drops them after receiving counsel from Edward. Churchill later pushes back Elizabeth's coronation to over a year away, which the Queen recognizes as an attempt to secure his own power against his party.|
|4||4||"Act of God"||Julian Jarrold||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|In December 1952, as a great smog causes thousands to die from suffocation or accidents caused by low visibility, Elizabeth's advisors pressure her to ask Churchill, who referred to the event as an "act of God", to step down. While the Queen is reluctant to do so, she summons him for a private audience after he comes under fire from the Opposition and refuses to discuss the smog at a Cabinet meeting. Churchill, however, has his eyes opened to the smog's effects after his favorite secretary Venetia is hit by a double-decker bus and killed. He makes an impassioned speech to the press, promising a longer-term approach to preventing future smog while Elizbeth changes her mind after the smog clears moments before their private audience. As all this is going on, Philip receives flying lessons from Air Force Group Captain Peter Townsend.|
|5||5||"Smoke and Mirrors"||Philip Martin||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|Following Queen Mary's death in March 1953, the visiting Duke of Windsor clashes with Elizabeth's Private Secretary Tommy Lascelles after being asked not to attend Elizabeth's coronation and learning that Wallis will not be receiving an invitation. Elizabeth places Philip in charge of coronation preparations only to regret her decision when he upsets her with a request that he should not have to kneel to her while she is being crowned and the committee with his insistence that the event be televised. On June 2nd, Elizabeth is crowned at Westminster Abbey while Edward and Wallis host a viewing of the coronation from their house in Paris.|
|6||6||"Gelignite"||Julian Jarrold||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|When Margaret and Townsend ask for Elizabeth's permission to marry, Lascelles and the Queen Mother advise against it while a newspaper gets wind of the story and publishes several articles about it. While Elizabeth initially promises to support Margaret, she changes her mind after discovering that the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 prohibits Margaret from marrying until she turns twenty-five. Elizabeth and Philip take Peter, who is set to head to Brussels, with them on their trip to Northern Ireland, but his popularity causes Lascelles to recommend that the posting happen earlier and forever affects the Queen's relationship with her sister.|
|7||7||"Scientia Potentia Est"||Benjamin Caron||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|When the Soviet Union detonates their first hydrogen bomb, Churchill urges an international summit with American President Dwight D. Eisenhower to avert tension. At the last minute, however, Churchill falls victim to a stroke which inhibits his ability to govern and which Lord Salisbury keeps secret. Elizabeth, meanwhile, contemplates whether to replace the retiring Lascelles with preferred choice Martin Charteris or with Lascelles's senior deputy Michael Adeane. She later engages a tutor to improve her practical education in science and other related subjects and gains enough courage to dress down Churchill and Salisbury for lying to her.|
|8||8||"Pride & Joy"||Philip Martin||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|With Elizabeth and Philip on a stressful tour of the Commonwealth, Margaret takes on more royal engagements while the Queen Mother goes to Scotland to reflect on her new position and ends up buying a castle. Philip, meanwhile, grows frustrated over Elizabeth using him as a prop and the couple gets into a heated argument that gets recorded by photographers. While Elizabeth convinces the photographers to hand over the recording, she and Phillip remain unable to resolve the argument and realize they must pretend to have a stable relationship for the public's sake. Churchill visits Margaret and, after explaining that the British people don't want someone with passion or personality, tells her she will no longer be taking on royal engagements.|
|9||9||"Assassins"||Benjamin Caron||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|Philip begins spending more time out of the house and Elizabeth begins spending more time with her horse racing manager and life-long friend Lord Porchester. The tension between the couple, which only escalates after Elizabeth has a direct line put in for Porchie to call Buckingham Palace, culminates in a heated confrontation. Afterwards, Elizabeth tells Philip that, to the disappointment of many, he is the only man she has ever loved. He, in turn, mouthes a silent apology after she makes a moving speech at Churchill's eightieth birthday dinner. As all this is going on, Graham Sutherland paints a portrait of Churchill as a birthday gift from Parliament. The Prime Minister, however, hates its unflattering accuracy and, after a heated confrontation with Sutherland, admits his pain at what aging has done to him. On secret instructions from Clementine, the portrait is later destroyed.|
|10||10||"Gloriana"||Philip Martin||Peter Morgan||November 4, 2016|
|Elizabeth faces a climax to Margaret's relationship with Townsend when she finds herself torn between the public and the combined opposition from Parliament and the Church of England. As she tries to convince Margaret against the relationship, the Queen Mother starts to complain about Philip's domineering attitude towards Charles. At the suggestion of Lascelles and the Queen Mother, Elizabeth asks Philip to open the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne so he can adjust to living in her shadow. A five-month royal tour is later added to Philip's trip and Elizabeth suggests that he be thankful everyone is helping him find a public role. As all of this is going on, Anthony Eden replaces Churchill as Prime Minister and becomes trapped in an escalating dispute with Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser over rights to the Suez Canal.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|11||1||TBA||Philip Martin||TBA||December 8, 2017|
Peter Morgan, who wrote the 2006 film The Queen and the 2013 stage play The Audience, is the main scriptwriter for The Crown. The directors of the television series who were also involved in the stage production are Stephen Daldry, Philip Martin, Julian Jarrold, and Benjamin Caron. The first 10-part season was the most expensive drama produced by Netflix and Left Bank Pictures to date, costing at least £100 million. A second season has been commissioned, with the series intended to span 60 episodes over six seasons. The series is expected to recast each role with older actors every two seasons, as the series progresses to present day events.
An estimated 25% of the first season was filmed at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with the remainder filmed on location, with the season filmed over 152 days. Sets for private quarters, the interior of a private jet, the cabinet room, and the exterior of 10 Downing Street were built at Elstree Studios, while Lancaster House, Wrotham Park and Wilton House were used for scenes to double as Buckingham Palace. Ely Cathedral stood in for Westminster Abbey, while filming in South Africa doubled as Kenya. Additional filming locations in the United Kingdom included Eltham Palace, the Royal Naval College, Goldsmiths' Hall, Shoreham Airport, New Slains Castle, Balmoral Castle, Cruden Bay, Lyceum Theatre, Loseley Park, Hatfield House, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Southwark Cathedral, Ardverikie House, Englefield House, and Glenfeshie Estate. Filming on the second season began in early October 2016.
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The show has been interpreted by some[weasel words] as perpetuating the myth that the Queen and Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden forced Princess Margaret to give up the idea of marrying Group Captain Peter Townsend. In reality, evidence shows they produced a plan to remove the hurdle holding up the marriage. In contradiction to the TV dramatization this plan would have allowed Princess Margaret to keep her royal title and her civil list allowance, stay in the country and even continue with her public duties. In the dramatization, the Queen is seen telling her sister that if she marries Townsend she will no longer be a member of the family because of the Royal Marriages Act 1772.
The reenactment of the King's surgery to remove a lung tumour was researched and planned by Pankaj Chandak, specialist registrar in transplant surgery, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London. Mr Chandak and his surgical team then became part of the real scene. The production team have donated the surgical model of King George VI to the Gordon Museum of Pathology to be used as teaching aid.
In the episode "Windsor", a flashback scene shows the former Edward VIII broadcasting a speech after his abdication, with the radio presenter announcing him as "His Royal Highness, The Duke of Windsor". John Reith, who announced the message on 11 December 1936, introduced him as "His Royal Highness, Prince Edward". The title of Duke of Windsor was only announced by King George VI at his accession council on the following day, 12 December 1936.
The series' first two episodes were released theatrically in the United Kingdom on November 1, 2016. The first season was released worldwide in its entirety on November 4, 2016. The second season is set to be released on December 8, 2017.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 90% approval rating based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Powerful performances and lavish cinematography make The Crown a top-notch production worthy of its grand subject." On Metacritic, the series holds a score of 81 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The Guardian's TV critic Lucy Mangan praised the series and said, "Netflix can rest assured that its £100m gamble has paid off. This first series, about good old British phlegm from first to last, is the service's crowning achievement so far." Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Ben Lawrence said, "The Crown is a PR triumph for the Windsors, a compassionate piece of work that humanises them in a way that has never been seen before. It is a portrait of an extraordinary family, an intelligent comment on the effects of the constitution on their personal lives and a fascinating account of postwar Britain all rolled into one." Chief television critic Jaci Stephen of The Mail on Sunday lauded the series and said, "Faultless is the only word for The Crown with its exquisite writing and magnificent acting." Writing for The Boston Globe, Matthew Gilbert lauded the series saying, "The show, created and written by Peter Morgan of The Queen and Frost/Nixon is thoroughly engaging, gorgeously shot, beautifully acted, rich in the historical events of postwar England, and designed with a sharp eye to psychological nuance." Vicki Hyman of The Star-Ledger said, "A sumptuous, stately but never dull look inside the life of Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy)." The A.V. Club's Gwen Ihnat said, "The Crown easily rises far above, adding a cinematic quality to a complex and intricate time for an intimate family. The performers and creators are seemingly up for the task."
The Wall Street Journal critic Dorothy Rabinowitz said, "We're clearly meant to see the duke [of Windsor] as a wastrel with heart. It doesn't quite come off—Mr. Jennings is far too convincing as an empty-hearted scoundrel—but it's a minor flaw in this superbly sustained work." Television critic Robert Lloyd writing for Los Angeles Times said, "As television it's excellent—beautifully mounted, movingly played and only mildly melodramatic." Hank Stuever of The Washington Post also reviewed the series positively: "Pieces of The Crown are more brilliant on their own than they are as a series, taken in as shorter, intently focused films like The Queen and another Morgan achievement, the play and film versions of Frost/Nixon." Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times said, "This is a thoughtful series that lingers over death rather than using it for shock value; one that finds its story lines in small power struggles rather than gruesome palace coups.". The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg reviewed the series positively and said, "The first chapter of Peter Morgan's chronicle of the rule of Queen Elizabeth II remains gripping across the entirety of the 10 episodes made available to critics, finding both emotional heft in Elizabeth's youthful ascension and unexpected suspense in matters of courtly protocol and etiquette." Other publications such as USA Today, Indiewire, The Atlantic, CNN and Variety all reviewed the series positively.
Some were more critical towards the show. In a less enthusiastic review for Time magazine, Daniel D'Addario wrote, "The show will be compared to Downton Abbey, but that late soap opera was able to invent ahistorical or at least unexpected notes, [Claire] Foy struggles mightily, but she's given little: Avoiding her children, her husband, and her subjects in favor of meetings at which she either acquiesces to her advisors or puts off acquiescing until fifteen minutes later, The Crown's Elizabeth is more than unknowable. She's a bore". Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz quipped, "The Crown never entirely figures out how to make the political and domestic drama genuinely dramatic, much less bestow complexity on characters outside England's innermost circle." Verne Gay of Newsday said, "Sumptuously produced but glacially told, The Crown is the TV equivalent of a long drive through the English countryside. The scenery keeps changing, but remains the same." Slate magazine's Willa Paskin, expressed "It will scratch your period drama itch—and leave you itchy for action." Writing for The Mail on Sunday, Hugo Vickers, an English biographer of the Royal Family, was of the opinion that "while [The Crown] certainly holds the attention, it is marred by a series of sensationalist errors and some quite remarkable lapses into vulgarity."
|2016||American Film Institute Awards||Top 10 TV Programs of the Year||The Crown||Won|||
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Drama Series||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||John Lithgow||Won|
|Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series||Jared Harris||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||Best Main Title – TV Show/Digital Streaming Series||Hans Zimmer||Nominated|||
|2017||Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||The Crown||Won|||
|Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Claire Foy||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||John Lithgow||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series||Won|||
|Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series||Claire Foy||Won|
|Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Cast of The Crown||Nominated|
|Art Directors Guild Awards||One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Television Series||Martin Childs||Nominated|||
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited One Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television||Yan Miles (for "Assassins")||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||The Crown||Won|||
|Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Jared Harris||Nominated|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Outstanding Period Television Series||Michele Clapton||Won|||
|Dorian Awards||TV Drama of the Year||The Crown||Nominated|
|TV Performance of the Year - Actress||Claire Foy||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best Online First/Streaming||The Crown||Won||
|Best Actor||Matt Smith||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Claire Foy||Nominated|
|Best Writer||Peter Morgan||Nominated|
|Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Editing||Úna Ní Dhonghaíle||Nominated|||
|Location Managers Guild Awards||Outstanding Locations in Period Television||Pat Karam, Robert Bentley||Won|||
|BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Best Costume Design||Michele Clapton||Won||
|Best Director: Fiction||Stephen Daldry||Nominated|
|Best Photography and Lightning: Fiction||Adriano Goldman||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Martin Childs||Nominated|
|Best Special, Visual and Graphic Effects||Úna Ní Dhonghaíle, Molinare||Won|
|Best Title and Graphic Identity||Patrick Clair, Raoul Marks||Nominated|
|Best Writer: Drama||Peter Morgan||Nominated|
|BAFTA Television Awards||Best Drama Series||The Crown||Nominated|||
|Best Actress||Claire Foy||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||John Lithgow||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Vanessa Kirby||Nominated|
|Glamour Awards||Best UK TV Actress||Won|||
|TCA Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Drama||The Crown||Nominated|||
|Outstanding New Program||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Drama||Claire Foy||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||The Crown||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Stephen Daldry||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Peter Morgan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Claire Foy||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||John Lithgow||Won|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series||Nina Gold, Robert Sterne||Nominated|
|Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour)||Adriano Goldman||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series, or Movie||Won|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series||Ivana Primorac, Amy Riley||Nominated|
|Outstanding Main Title Design||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series||Rupert Gregson-Williams||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period Program (One Hour or More)||Won|
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role||Nominated|
|Online Film & Television Association Awards||Best Drama Series||The Crown||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Drama Series||Matt Smith||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Claire Foy||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||John Lithgow||Won|
|Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Jared Harris||Won|
|Best Ensemble in a Drama Series||The Crown||Nominated|
|Best Direction in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Best Writing in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Best Music in a Series||Won|
|Best Editing in a Series||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography in a Series||Won|
|Best Production Design in a Series||Won|
|Best Costume in a Series||Won|
|Best Make Up/Hairstyling in a Series||Won|
|Best New Theme Song in a Series||Won|
|Best New Titles Sequence||Nominated|
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