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The Crown DVD

Buy the crown series on DVDs in UK

Storyline

This show focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a twenty-five-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. The British Empire is in decline, the political world is in disarray, and a young woman takes the throne….a new era is dawning. Peter Morgan’s masterfully researched scripts reveal the Queen’s private journey behind the public façade with daring frankness. Prepare to be welcomed into the coveted world of power and privilege and behind locked doors in Westminster and Buckingham Palace….the leaders of an empire await.

Did You Know?

The series is one of the most expensive television series ever made. Each episode is budgeted at £5 million and it had already been commissioned for two seasons, with the intention of four more, before the first episode had even been completed, or any episode broadcast.

The iconic black door of 10 Downing Street had to be made larger in scale so that John Lithgow, who is 6′ 4” in height, would not look significantly larger than the real-life Sir Winston Churchill, who at this stage was around 5′ 6” tall.

For his role as Sir Winston Churchill, John Lithgow’s dialect coach was William Conacher, who also had to coach the other mostly British cast because of subtle changes in English accents over the decades. Lithgow actually stuffed cotton in his nostrils in order to capture the faint nasal timbre of Churchill’s intonations, while a dialect evolutionist was on set to monitor the accuracy of accents over the time span of the series. It was noted, for example, that Queen Elizabeth II’s pronunciation of vowels during the 1950s differs enormously from the way her grandson Prince Harry speaks today.

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Queen Elizabeth II has blue eyes, like her first portrayer Claire Foy. After Olivia Colman was cast as Elizabeth she was tested with blue contact lenses over her brown eyes, but it was decided they negatively affected her performance. Changing her eye color in postproduction was also tested, but according to the producers “it didn’t feel like her. CGI-ing her eyes seemed to diminish what she was doing.” Eventually it was decided to accept the continuity error.

Originally, creator Peter Morgan envisaged the series as being sixty episodes in total over six seasons, with the first season depicting events up to 1955, but as production was wrapping on season 4 on January 2020, he announced his intention to conclude the series with season 5. However, in July 2020, Morgan announced that it would be in the end the predicted six seasons, because he needed more episodes to convey the story he wanted to.

Helen Mirren, who portrayed Elizabeth in The Queen (2006), dismissed speculation that she would succeed Olivia Colman after the series’ next time jump, stating “I think it’s more interesting when you see other portraits and it builds into a more interesting picture than just someone coming back”.

For his role as Sir Winston Churchill, John Lithgow has said that the make-up process was remarkably uncomplicated and only took about twenty minutes to complete for each session. Apart from a wispy wig, a “plumpers” plate had to be attached to his back teeth in order to accentuate his jowls, and tight collars were used to “force” the characteristic Churchill “double chin”. This process was overseen by Ivana Primorac. Coincidentally Primorac and her team won the BAFTA for Best Make-up on Gary Oldman as Sir Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017).

In mid 2017, the British tabloids reported that Queen Elizabeth II had watched the series on the insistence of her son Prince Edward, and reportedly “really liked it, although obviously there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatized. Claire Foy later stated she was skeptical of the rumors. During Elizabeth’s 2017 Christmas address, she referenced and included a clip of her first televised address, an event recently depicted in The Crown: Marionettes (2017).

About Claire Foy

Claire Elizabeth Foy (born 16 April 1984) is an English actress. She studied acting at the Liverpool John Moores University and the Oxford School of Drama and made her screen debut in the pilot of the supernatural comedy series Being Human, in 2008. Following her professional stage debut at the Royal National Theatre, she played the title role in the BBC One miniseries Little Dorrit (2008), and made her film debut in the American historical fantasy drama Season of the Witch (2011). Following leading roles in the television series The Promise (2011) and Crossbones (2014), Foy received praise for portraying the ill-fated queen Anne Boleyn in the miniseries Wolf Hall (2015).

Foy gained international recognition for portraying the young Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons of the Netflix series The Crown (2016-2017), for which she won a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, among other awards. In 2018, she starred in Steven Soderbergh’s psychological thriller Unsane and portrayed Janet Shearon, wife of astronaut Neil Armstrong, in Damien Chazelle’s biopic First Man. For the latter, she was nominated for the BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

Foy was born in Stockport. She has said that her mother, Caroline, comes from “a massive Irish family”. Her maternal grandparents were from Dublin and Kildare, respectively. She grew up in Manchester and Leeds, the youngest of three children. Her family later moved to Longwick, Buckinghamshire, for her father’s job as a salesman for Rank Xerox. Her parents divorced when she was eight.

Foy attended Aylesbury High School, a girls’ grammar school, from the age of twelve; she then attended Liverpool John Moores University, studying drama and screen studies. She also trained in a one-year course at the Oxford School of Drama. She graduated in 2007 and moved to Peckham to share a house “with five friends from drama school”.

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