Even while I was catching up and begun watching Season Three of The Crown, Season Four was already grabbing attention in the social media with particular rumblings from the palace. Not surprising as the series moves closer and closer to more recent events which would naturally draw further scrutiny especially since it weaves tales of scandals that are involving members of the royal family that are still very much alive. While Seasons One and Two (which covered the period from The Queen’s wedding in 1947 till the early 60’s) had pictured the young Queen in a generally favourable and admirable light, Seasons Three and Four has put almost every member of the royal family in a bad light.
Season Three covers events which occurred roughly in the timeline of 1964 till 1977 while Season Four follows through until 1990. An entirely new cast has been assembled for these two seasons to play the more matured and older versions of everyone. Top on the list is Academy Award winning Actress Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, and Tobias Menzies as the more matured Price Philip. I have to admit that initially it took a bit of accepting these new faces to portray the characters that we have grown to love and accustomed to in Seasons One and Two. Olivia Colman’s Queen immediately came across as a scruffy old woman and hence, less likeable, while Tobias Menzies’ drawling speech took a bit of getting used to as well. The new seasons also seem to have less emphasis on events directly involving the Queen and at times it felt like she was being pushed from being the main character to a supporting role. This is especially apparent in Season Four when the plot involving Prince Charles and Lady Diana often took center stage. Happily, despite these changes, the series still maintains its addictiveness and still provides for compulsive viewing.
One of the key delights of watching this series is in the dialouge and deliverance of this. Once again we are blessed with some incredible performances from everyone. Olivia Colman may have come across as unlikeable at the start but her portrayal of the Queen grows on you and at the end of the day, she manages to have her portrayal of the Queen emerge triumphantly despite the distractions of other events. But apart from Olivia, there are many other strong performances in particular from Gillian Anderson’s captivating performance as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to the relative unknown Emma Corrin giving a very believable version of Lady Diana and Josh O’Connor in the more displeasing role of Prince Charles. Helena Bonham Carter as the older Princess Margaret has some very good moments in Season Three but sadly her character just had less scandalous things to do by the time we reached Season Four where her role has been reduced to merely a backdrop.
The Crown is probably right on top of my personal list of favourite TV series and will be a tough act to follow. Peter Morgan who created and wrote this series is a genius and I dare say this is probably a career best for him. My only gripe is that we all have to wait until 2022 before we can see Season Five and even longer before Season Six! In the meantime to fill in the time as we wait, I have begun coming up with a list of films with related stories which I would like to share with you … so far, I have come up with Diana (2013), The King’s Speech (2010), The Queen (2006), The Iron Lady (2011), Jackie (2016), Darkest Hour (2017) and the TV series Diana: In Her Own Words (2017).