“Every time ‘The Crown’ is mentioned, be it a positive or negative reception to its telling of history, it just gets more popular. People want to see what the fuss is about and get to weigh in with their own views,” writes streaming columnist NICK OVERALL.
IN the last few weeks, one of Netflix’s biggest shows has returned for another season, and it seems it’s the most controversial yet.
It’s “The Crown”, a drama series that follows the reign of the Queen. An all-star cast portraying household names such as Princes Charles and Philip, Princess Margaret and Winston Churchill just to name a few, have made the show a hit as it attempts to depict what goes on behind the oversized, glittering, closed doors of Buckingham Palace.
Now in its fourth season, it’s covering the 13-year period of 1977-’90 that saw Charles and Diana get together, attacks on Britain from the IRA and the first female prime minister to move into 10 Downing Street.
Gillian Anderson of “The X-Files” fame takes the role of Margaret Thatcher. From paranormal investigator to the Iron Lady, talk about a change of pace.
Another rising British actor, Emma Corrin, plays Princess Diana. Unsurprisingly, it’s brought a huge amount of attention.
Corrin and Anderson are incredibly convincing in their roles, as is the entire cast in playing such spectacularly famous names. Olivia Colman as the Queen looks remarkably similar, as does the former Time Lord Matt Smith as Philip. A show covering this sort of subject matter of course isn’t going to get away without a controversy or two.
The historical accuracy of the events that take place in the series has always been a matter of contention among viewers and commentators, now more than ever with many upset that a lot of their favourite royals don’t come off as heroic as they may like.
The genius behind “The Crown” is award-winning playwright Peter Morgan. He has openly admitted that he comes at it from a mix of fact and fiction, in his own words saying that people don’t want historic regurgitation but acts of imagination.
The result is more than a little bit of creative liberty here and there, particularly when it comes to the emotional side of things, with the writers on a foundation of in-depth research attempting to imagine what the royals might have been thinking or feeling in these volatile scenarios.
How does the saying go? Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
It’s left to viewers to make up their own minds about how “real” it all is. Either way, the show without a doubt is surfing the waves of this rolling controversy and commentary. Every time “The Crown” is mentioned, be it a positive or negative reception to its telling of history, it just gets more popular. People want to see what the fuss is about and get to weigh in with their own views.
The attention to detail, analysis and dialogue has come to give it quite the regal place in Netflix’s catalogue of original series. As soon as a new season pops up, it’s quick to take its throne as the most-hyped show of the moment and hits the most watched lists just as fast.
But, fans of the royals and good television aside, considering the cast is playing many characters who survive to this day, the question does arise – what do they think of it?
Well, many news outlets were delighted a few years ago to report that the Queen herself enjoys the series, apparently organising private screenings of episodes on Saturday nights.
However, it seems the future king may not be mooching off the royal Netflix account, having firmly said he does not watch it. Prince Harry, too, apparently wishes to see it stop well before it catches up with the modern day.
Prince Philip also doesn’t give it his royal seal of approval. Those who’ve watched the show probably won’t be wondering why.
More of Nick Overall on Twitter @nick_overall