The Crown: First reviews in for season three as Olivia Colman takes to the throne

Bethany Minelle, arts & entertainment reporter

The highly anticipated new series of The Crown has arrived.

The Netflix drama follows on directly from the second series, picking up in the mid-1960s, but features an entirely rebooted central cast, led by Oscar-winning Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II.

So what do critics make of season three of The Crown so far?

Independent - 3/5 stars

The Independent calls Olivia Colman "by a great distance the best thing about the new 10-episode series".

In a mixed review, the aesthetics of the show are praised as "one of the most beautiful dramas on television", however the content is labelled "grand yet colourless".

Calling the characters created by writer Peter Morgan as "magnificent caricatures", it compares Claire Foy's previous "Hollywood" performance as the Queen with what it calls Colman's "dazzlingly banal" portrayal.

Helena Bonham Carter's turn as Princess Margaret is likened to "stunt casting", noting that the actress is fantastic at playing herself.

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The review praises the final few episodes of the drama, where Prince Charles and Camilla Shand (played by Josh O'Connor and Erin Doherty) begin a relationship, announcing it as arrival into "right royal bonkbuster territory".

It also looks ahead to Gillian Anderson's forthcoming season four turn as Margaret Thatcher.

The fourth season, featuring the same rebooted cast as the third, is already in production.

The Guardian - 4/5 stars

The Guardian says Colman manages to "channel Top Windsor most effectively".

It goes on to say that "Helena Bonham Carter is the ideal Princess Margaret" despite "a touch of the Julie Walters/Mrs Overall creeping in towards the end".

As for Tobias Menzies, who has taken over from Matt Smith as the Duke of Edinburgh, a colourful description says his "face distinctly suggests a man on the verge of either delighting you or slashing you with a concealed blade".

Charles Dance is praised for his portrayal of Lord Mountbatten.

The Telegraph - 4/5 stars

The Telegraph hails a "gloriously confident, mischievous and witty opening", calling it "an instantly absorbing opener".

The review notes the unlikely nature of many of the events, while acknowledging it makes for great drama.

It also flags the only actor to span both the old and new cast, as John Lithgow concludes his turn as Sir Winston Churchill.

The Times - 4/5 stars

The Times pulls no punches, stating that "Olivia Colman isn't as convincing as Claire Foy playing the Queen".

It notes that her face "is hampered by her face being too warmly expressive for the Queen's stoic inscrutability".

However, the review does concede that viewers are likely to be harsher in judgement towards the portrayal of an older Queen as we are all familiar with the 93-year-old monarch.

Despite liberties taken with timelines and colourful conversations which were likely more dull in real-life, the review concludes it is "good, soapy TV".