It is being billed as the most expensive TV series ever produced—with a budget of $130 million—and the first official trailer for the forthcoming Netflix series The Crown is setting high expectations among fans of costume dramas.
The Netflix drama focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed faced with a series of unimaginably daunting private and personal challenges as she ascends to the throne following the unexpected death of her father, George VI.
The series has been written by British playwright Peter Morgan, author of some of the most successful plays of recent years, including Frost/Nixon and The Audience, which focused on Elizabeth’s relationships with the U.K. prime minister of the day.
The new series is said to be loosely inspired by The Audience. However, to judge from the trailer, the new series will look and feel completely different to that marvelous play, which debuted in 2013.
The title comes from the weekly “audience” given by Queen Elizabeth II to prime ministers every Wednesday. Although no minutes are taken at these meetings and the discussions are totally private, details have leaked out over the years.
Helen Mirren starred as Queen Elizabeth II in the play, marking her second time in the role after she won the Oscar for the part in Morgan’s 2006 film The Queen.
Morgan has become famous for masterfully researched scripts that reveal much of the ritual and custom behind the queen’s public life—his scene of Tony Blair meeting Elizabeth for the first time in The Queen has gone down as an authoritative account of the ancient custom by which the queen commands the new prime minister to take office.
Stephen Daldry, who directed The Hours and Billy Elliot, directs the 10-episode first season.
To judge by the trailer this new series—which debuts Nov. 4—it will be destination TV for all Anglophiles this autumn, and focuses on Elizabeth’s relationship with two important men in her life—Prince Philip and Winston Churchill.
Claire Foy plays Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith is her husband Prince Phillip. John Lithgow plays Sir Winston Churchill, Victoria Hamilton is the Queen Mother, Jared Harris plays King George VI, Vanessa Kirby is Princess Margaret, and Dame Eileen Atkins plays Queen Mary.
Each season of The Crown is designed to explore the political rivalries and personal intrigues across a decade of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, examining the delicate balance between her private world and public life— meaning we could have up to seven series to look forward to if the production is a hit.