A young Queen Elizabeth on a one pound note, circa 1976The second season episodes of the most expensive TV series ever produced, The Crown, which cost a mere $130M, just dropped on Netflix a few days ago.
It’s interesting timing, because today is the 81st anniversary of the day that Britain’s King Edward VIII renounced the throne, so he could marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.
While the facts themselves were sensational for the time, I find it more interesting the way the excellent writers of the TV series have worked them into some of the best drama I’ve ever watched.
We saw the first season not very long after it was released, and I was staggered by the quality of the writing. It’s some of the best story-telling I’ve ever seen, on any medium. As TV is much better at telling character stories it’s probably no surprise that this series is an intense character study of the key figures surrounding Queen Elizabeth during the early years of her reign.
All the episodes were fascinating, but two from the first season stick in my mind, both of them featuring John Lithgow as Winston Churchill (whom he played brilliantly). The first is Episode 4, “Act of God”, when Churchill confronts the human face of his political decisions, and the second is Episode 9, “Assassins”, when Churchill has his portrait painted for his eightieth birthday. Both episodes were perfectly structured and marvellously written and acted.
All the episodes seamlessly blend fact with fiction and make it work beautifully.
We have yet to see the second season, but I am sure it lives up to the same standards.
I have to wonder if Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip have watched the series at all, and what they think of the interpretation of their lives.
Have you? What did you think?