It appeared an odd decision when Netflix announced that The Crown was going to end at season 5. When each other set of actors had two seasons by which to cover important storylines, and complete the arcs for their characters, the lack of season 6 induced worry that season 5 would therefore appear rushed. However, fear not — the pitter-patter of Corgi paws and pure decadent indulgence is not going to be over as soon as originally planned. With the news that season 4 of the epic saga is to drop on 15 November, also comes the news that we all need to hear — producers have seen the error of their ways, and season 6 has been announced. Now cue a collective sigh of relief ravaging the country: this is the literal crown jewels of television news, especially during current times where good news isn't in plentiful supply.
Even the most diehard Royal sceptics must be hard pushed to dismiss The Crown, Netflix's lavish, gloriously engrossing drama. Rumoured to be the streaming site's most expensive production to date, it is difficult not to get drawn in by the costumes and the chemistry between the flawlessly cast actors. The show is also one of the greatest lessons in history that can be found outside history books and documentaries. Sometimes, the only way to watch it is to gasp, pause, Google, gasp some more, and repeat. By the end of each episode, a lot of 'yes — that really did happen' moments will add interesting royal related historical anecdotes to one's knowledge.
Replacing an entire cast in order to realistically age the characters and move the story forward, is also no mean feat. Claire Foy and Matt Smith were an acting masterclass, as they carried series 1 and 2 with ease. However, the transition to Olivia Colman as the middle-age Monarch was as smooth as Tony Armstrong-Jones's (Matthew Goode) seduction of Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) during season 2 — exceptionally smooth. Tobias Menzies, diabolically underused in everything else he has appeared in (with the exception of Outlander,) was also pitch perfect as Prince Philip, and the poignant scenes where he has an existential crisis after watching the Apollo 11 moon landing, were some of the most memorable of the season. He was the perfect Matt Smith replacement.
Relative newcomer Erin Doherty was a revelation as Princess Anne during season 3, from the very first scenes that showed her marching the halls of the palace, answering a call from her father. Josh O'Connor it would appear, is owed a huge debt of gratitude from the real life Prince Charles, for his sympathetic portrayal of him. Prince Charles has drawn a lot of real-life anger and criticism for the way in which he handled his marriage to Diana and his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Season 3 opened eyes to way in which his wishes were completely overlooked by his family, for the sake of public image, at many sensitive stages of his life.
It will be hugely interesting to see how Emma Corrin will be received as Princess Diana during the upcoming season, and if the perception of Prince Charles' character will be any less sympathetic, once their marriage is explored. Emerald Fennel as Camilla is likely to aid any sympathy toward the couple, especially for anyone who has trouble separating Fennel's onscreen character from her massive real-life relatability. One can also not discuss season 4 casting without mentioning Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. Anyone who has seen The Fall or Sex Education is likely to be excited this casting choice, with Anderson being the kind of actor where every role she touches turns to gold.
The excellent season 6 news isn't without some disappointment though. Although complete casting for seasons 5 and 6 have not been revealed yet, from the previous seasons, there's a mighty strong chance that all casting decisions will be on the money. It's where the storylines will end that have the potential for disappointment. It is thought that the reign of The Crown over Netflix will end sometime during the noughties. For those of a certain generation, who have grown up at the same time as Prince William and Prince Harry, their portrayal could've been an exciting conclusion. This would also have allowed writers to explore some very current themes relevant to modern culture. The pitching of the women-against-women narrative that the media is very fond of pushing could be brilliantly played out using the example of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Harry and Meghan's brutal treatment also at the hands of the media, and their subsequent departure from the UK, could've also started meaningful conversations around racial bias, especially in the current BLM climate.
It does appear a shame to miss out on that and an opportunity for the younger royals to have their stories told in the same sensitive way as their predecessors.
Netflix could be missing out on valuable learning opportunities for an engaged audience who are willing to listen to what The Crown has to say. It does appear a shame to miss out on that and an opportunity for the younger royals to have their stories told in the same sensitive way as their predecessors. Nevertheless, this won't be happening, but still doesn't lessen the excitement that tick charts can now count down to 15 Nov., popcorn can be purchased, and pre-Christmas evenings can be spent lost in glorious history and the fantastic acting The Crown has to offer.