The Crown – a latecomer’s review

I come dreadfully late to the game, but at least I have made it in time for the next month’s Jubilee. I started watching The Crown last weekend and completed the whole 4 series in 5 days, which allowed me to cut my previous personal best in Netflix binging by over 24 hours.
My first impression, which, incidentally, I have altered since, was my dear God and Garden Fairies, what a ghastly show this is. 

Everybody is miserable all the time. The Queen hates her job and looks deeply and utterly unhappy. She never smiles and she never ever sees her two oldest children who hop around vast corridors of Buckingham Palace without anybody taking notice. 

Philip eyes everybody with suspicion and keeps his head oddly askew at all times. He is permanently grumpy and complains about everything, which is not an unusual male behaviour, we all know at least one such specimen, and many of us live with one, but I for one have always been led to believe that Philip was the Queen’s rock and anchor who offered her unwavering support for seven decades. 

I am willing to concede there are a few redeeming features; the Queen models a stunning collection of 1950s dresses. Claire Foy who plays the young Queen in the first two seasons, has grown on me. The young Princess Margaret is brilliantly feisty and glamorous. Matthew Goode is young Tony Armstrong-Jones. 

Season 3 brings a complete cast change. This takes some getting used to, as I have developed an attachment to Claire Foy by now and have begun to feel oddly protective of her. 

Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham-Carter took over the roles of the Queen and her sister. The true heavy weights of their profession, they felt wrong for the first couple of episodes, not the least because they were both a decade older than the women they portrayed.

Prince Charles deserves a special mention. I can almost feel sorry for the real one, if he watches. Almost. The series makers are determined to present him in the worst possible light, from a weakling child who refuses to even try to complete any physical challenge, to a grumpy idiot during his university years. Charles’ first day of his reluctant participation in the Welsh language tuition shows him attempt to interact with a recorded lesson. Comedy gold. Unless you are Prince Charles. 

Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher wins the tight contest for the biggest irritation of the series. Her butchered Thatcher accent sounds like a slow-motion comical take on the real thing, and makes season 4 almost unwatchable. 

This quickly becomes of small importance, as from the moment Diana comes on the scene, the whole thing is mostly unwatchable. 

I understand that The Crown is an American-made tale of British monarchy, and as such it was always going to be somewhat of a disaster, but some things stand out more than others in this unintentionally comical parody of life in Britain in the 20th century. One curious omission is the 1966 World Cup. It does not get a mention, not even in passing. 

I cannot wait for season 5. 

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