Issue of the day: The new series of The Crown in a new era

Imelda Staunton will portray Queen Elizabeth II in the new series of The Crown on Netflix later this year
Imelda Staunton will portray Queen Elizabeth II in the new series of The Crown on Netflix later this year

IT saw a surge in viewers following the death of the Queen. Now Netflix show, The Crown, is returning, in a new Carolean era.

 

It’s back?

Soon. Streaming giant Netflix has announced the fifth series will launch on November 9 and for the first time, Imelda Staunton will take on the role of the Queen. Filming began for the series while Queen Elizabeth was alive and was suspended for one day after her death on September 8 was announced and also for her funeral.

 

Who else is in this series?

Series five takes place in the 1990s and, as with previous seasons, will consist of 10 episodes, focusing on the breakdown of the marriage of the then Prince and Princess of Wales. The Wire star Dominic West, stars as Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, while Jonathan Pryce replaces Tobias Menzies as the Duke of Edinburgh and Lesley Manville stars as Princess Margaret, following in the footsteps of Helena Bonham Carter; also marking the first appearances of the actors in these royal roles.

 

Viewers flocked to the series?

As news of the death of the Queen reverberated around the world, viewership for the show surged. Netflix said that from September 9 to 11, it rose more than 800 per cent in the United Kingdom alone, compared with the previous Friday to Sunday period. In the US, viewership more than quadrupled, while in France, The Crown drew more than three times the viewers it did the previous weekend. Around the world, viewership was nearly four times higher.

 

And now?

The series, of course, airs in this new era, following the end of the Elizabethan age and the beginning of the Carolean.

 

Did the Queen watch?

During an interview with The Today Show in the United States, actor Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip in the first two series - opposite Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth - said that he had information that Her Majesty was a view. He said: "I heard the Queen had watched it, and she used to watch it on a projector on a Sunday night apparently.” Meanwhile, Prince Harry revealed last year: I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself. Because… that [The Crown] is obviously fiction, take it how you will.”

 

Many take it…?

…as fact, sparking then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to call for Netflix to add a fiction warning to the royal drama back in 2020, expressing concern that "a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact”. Mr Dowden said at the time: "It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that... Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.” Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, also said he felt uneasy watching his sister’s depiction and that he feared viewers will “forget it is fiction”.