I’ve recently started watching The Crown on Netflix after my mum recommended it to me, after my sister recommended it to her. I’m normally a bit wary of these ‘originals’ programmes, be it Netflix or Amazon Prime – it seems to usually be an excuse to put in a bunch of gratuitous sex and violence that they can only get away with because it’s not going on tv (though what the excuse is for Game of Thrones I’ll never know). But mum and my sister are almost as prudish as I am, and just as scrutinising of good characters and plot lines.
I happened to be round mum and dad’s for dinner one evening and they popped it on whilst we were eating – a few episodes in, but it’s not like there can be any spoilers, it is history after all (or so I thought!) I was hooked immediately. Claire Foy is a spectacular actress, you seriously forget that you’re watching a period drama and think that you’ve magically be sent back in time as a fly on the wall, watching a young Queen Elizabeth. I love the way she reminds us that the Queen is a real person, with a real family and real problems, though one does tend to end up with a slight plum in one’s voice after watching a few episodes at a time. She also makes the job of monarch seem so desperately lonely, which again makes it all seem so realistic. She is so wonderful and likeable, I think every episode I’ve found myself just wanting to be her friend and give her a hug!
I’m no Royal expert by any stretch of the imagination, but you really can imagine that all these conversations and little character quirks are genuine – Matt Smith’s Prince Philip is just perfect, down to the cheeky grin and occasionally inappropriate remarks! The relationship between the two is beautiful as well, you really get a sense of them as a couple, as well as the extraordinary demands on their marriage as they both get used to the idea of Elizabeth being Philip’s Queen.
Jon Lithgow’s Winston Churchill is truly a thing to behold – his is possibly the ‘character’ I know most about, albeit largely second hand through my husband’s passion for wartime history, and you can really see that Lithgow has done his homework into the mannerisms and way of speaking. All the ‘characters’ really are perfect; Prince Margaret is a fantastic firecracker, the multitude of Royal staff really complete the picture, and the Royal Mothers (Queen Mary and the Queen Mother) are almost icy in their adherence to the Royal principles and procedures. Without giving too much away, there are several moments when you have to wonder, is that really how things are?
But the clothes! The Queen really does wear some beautiful fifties outfits, from cute (am I allowed to call the Queen ‘cute’?!) circle skirts and cardigans, to beautiful ‘New Look’ dresses, and some magnificent evening gowns. As a lover of vintage, this is almost enough reason in itself to watch the programme, aside from the drama itself! Not to mention the gorgeous scenery and buildings, I don’t know how much was shot on location, but everything is so grand and gives such a good idea of the Royal Palaces, I almost don’t care!
As you can see I can hardly say enough wonderful things about The Crown – and I’m only halfway through the first series! I cannot wait to finish what I have left, and am so excited to see where Netflix will take this captivating programme.
Pictures from IMDB