Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Beyond The TARDIS The Crown by DJ Forrest

The Crown

By DJ Forrest

A Netflix Original Drama
Starring Matt Smith
Written and created by Peter Morgan
Music by Hans Zimmer

The opening credits, feels very Game of Thrones-y as Hans Zimmer draws on the design of the crown from its very concept to the finished product.

The Crown tells the story of Princess Elizabeth Windsor who after her father’s death became the new Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The story takes up after Edward’s abdication and Bertie’s role as the King, Churchill’s role and that of the Queen Mother. It gives great insight into the young Princesses, both in childhood and in adulthood – Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, their loves and their lives. It handles the childhood past in a series of well drawn out flashbacks, which aide the story well. And as much as I knew some things about the royal family, there were many shock surprises in this series.

Matt Smith plays the role of the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip Mountbatten and portrayed in such a way that you can’t help feeling sorry for him, for the way in which the House of Windsor, and that of parliament at that time, forced him to give up so much. And yet, he remained by Elizabeth’s side.
From marriage, Elizabeth who should have taken his surname, kept the name of Windsor, denying a Mountbatten the throne.

Philip was to leave active service in the military. There was even a moment when Churchill was to clip his wings and prevent him from learning to fly. Obviously, there were royal rows which were often caught by the paparazzi, waiting on the edges of the royal retreats during their tours of the Commonwealth.

Claire Foy plays the young Queen and crafts her accent well for the role. John Lithgow plays the ageing Churchill, and no hint of an American accent, well maybe once or twice, it’s almost uncanny how much he portrayed the great man himself right down to the stoop. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that in as much as McNeice nails the character in Doctor Who, Lithgow was the obvious choice for the drama.

The actresses who play both the young Margaret as well as the adult are uncannily alike. In fact it’s absolutely hard to find anyone who doesn’t suit the role of the characters they play.

I can’t fault this series at all, and even if you’re not a complete fan of the Royal family, and there are many who aren’t – it is an immensely interesting drama.

Peter Morgan is renowned for his historical dramas. He wrote The Queen, as portrayed by Helen Mirren for the big screen. Both she and Blair lookalike Michael Sheen were perfect for their roles.

Every attention to detail has been met, and it is completely unmissable viewing.

There were a few characters I didn’t like in the series, which was not down to their portrayal, but of the character themselves. Pip Torrens played the Secretary to the Queen who dictates what is right for the royal family. When Elizabeth wished for someone she’d worked with on a different level as Princess, Torrens’ character made it clear that there was a point of rule that only the person rightfully due to take over the role once his character retired, would take the role. Plus, there was an awful lot of interference regarding Margaret dating Townsend. The trouble it could cause the Royal family at that time, as far as the Government were concerned, and that of the Royal staff (higher up), meant Margaret and Townsend had to part company. I wonder what happened to him.

It’s interesting to think just how much government dictated back then as to what is just and right for the Royal family, and how much they may interfere now, given how little it seems the Royal family are these days – a mere tourist attraction to foreign visitors. That being said, the Queen is now the longest reigning monarch, at 90, she’s still working, and Philip is still by her side, after all this time.

There were a lot of familiar faces too in this drama series of ten episodes. Familiar to the world of Who especially. There are to be more seasons of the drama, with Series 2 already in the making, and four more planned, covering the years leading up to present day, I really can’t wait for the next series.

Whatever your feelings of the Royal family are, it’s a drama worth watching, and the acting is superb, and if I had to rate it, it would be full marks to all involved.

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