Why are we as a country so obsessed with the royal family? Is it because they are the beating heart of our nation? Is it because they have been through such public humiliations and come out the other side to become the big happy family they are today? Is it because they are secretly reptiles that landed on earth from another planet? Frankly, your guess is as good as mine, but we as a nation are fascinated with our most famous family as reflected in popular culture whether that be extensive reports of Kate Middleton’s latest dress, the Queen skydiving into the Olympic Stadium or their countless portrayals in TV and film.
Apparently we have not seen every incarnation of Liz and her kids on screen as Netflix brings to the silver screen The Crown, an epic 10 part series focusing on our young 20-something monarch and her hubby Phillip. This may be one of the most ambitious Netflix projects to date as it is set to cover events from Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding and coronation in the late 40s and early 50s to the present day 90-year-old Queenie we all know and love. While the first series may focus on the early power struggle between Elizabeth and Phillip, the royal family’s interactions with Winston Churchill and their public image, there is no doubt that if successful we will see another series following the extreme highs and lows of the royal family.
If the cast is anything to go by then viewers are in for a treat. Claire Foy steps into the dainty shoes of Elizabeth, having previously proved her period drama credentials with BBC’s Wolf Hall where she played a feisty Anne Boleyn. Ex-UEA student and ex-time lord, Matt Smith, materialises in the 20th century to play a seemingly confrontational Phillip, from the look of the trailers, while veteran actors John Lithgow and Jarred Harris bring some gravitas to the cast.
Series creator and head writer, Peter Morgan, is one man who is not finished examining Queen Elizabeth’s life after penning 2006’s The Queen and the 2013 stage play The Audience, with Dame Helen Mirren portraying the monarch on both, which examined the different stages in her and her family’s life. The words ‘inspired by true events’ in the trailer may turn off a few viewers who notice this disclaimer as a sign that Morgan will err on the side of historical accuracy and incorporate some dramatic licence to spice up the seven decades worth of events. However, if there was anyone to chronicle the life of Queen Elizabeth, Morgan is definitely the most qualified as he seems to be more obsessed with the royal family than even your most patriotic Brit. His track record outside of royal family drama is solid too with other fantastic screenplays like The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon and The Last Honour of Christopher Jefferies on his CV. Netflix certainly seem to think him trustworthy, giving him roughly £100 million to play with, so the only question is will viewers be treated to a juicy side of the royal family we haven’t seen before?
Surely with Netflix’s current track record in the past few months alone there’s very little danger of The Crown not succeeding, when examining the last few months’ content alone it is impossible to find fault. The newest, more obscure comic book character dug up by Marvel, a continuation of the life of an infamous Columbian drug lord and an original nostalgia fuelled 80’s sci fi hit led by a cast of kids. All these series nurtured by Netflix have surprised time and time again leaving audiences and critics satisfied. So the big question is will The Crown see Netflix maintain this upward trajectory or perhaps provide an unsteady step as the public grow tired of the continued obsession with our royal family?