Things You Didn't Know... - October 18, 2018

10 Things You Didn't Know About... The Crown
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

10 Things You Didn't Know About... The Crown

As one of the most-watched TV shows in recent years, royal biopic drama The Crown has won plenty of admirers and awards over its first two seasons and although the show's second run has been available online for a while now, on Monday (October 22nd) you'll get the opportunity to own the second series on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time.

With the show's second season arriving in stores next week and the filming of a third already underway, we dug up 10 of the lesser-known facts about The Crown, from brushes with death to cheese-eating dogs...

 

It's the most expensive show Netflix has made to date...

Up until quite recently, it was Baz Luhrmann's stylish tribute to New York's hip-hop scene The Get Down which held the honour of being Netflix's most expensive show, having burned through an eye-watering $120 million budget in just one season. The Crown has taken a little longer to catch up, but it's hardly cheap to make and the streaming giant has spent over $130 million on the royal saga over its first two seasons.

 

Almost every costume featured in the show is made from scratch...

One of the reasons The Crown is such a costly endeavour is the sheer volume of costumes which need to be made especially for the show. That's because the task of sourcing the kind of clothing worn in the show is incredibly complex; outfits worn at well-documented public appearances have to be replicated for historical accuracy, and the rest of the period-specific clothing can be difficult to source – even if you manage to find the exact item you're looking for, there's no guarantee it will fit the actor who needs it. The costume designers on the show have stated that almost 95% of the clothing worn is made-to-order.

 

Showrunner Peter Morgan has never met the Queen, and hopes he never does...

You might think that a director who has written for and directed Helen Mirren in the role of Queen Elizabeth twice – once in 2006 film The Queen, once on the stage in The Audience – might have sought an audience with Her Majesty for a bit of character research or some inside info, but no. Morgan has never met the Queen and has said that he hopes he never has to. In a Radio Times interview, Morgan said: “I’ve spent so long thinking and writing about the woman it would feel unnatural and uncomfortable. I’d just be embarrassed.”

 

The show is envisioned to last six seasons...

Morgan's idea from the outset has been to tell the story of Queen Elizabeth's life over six decades, with each season representing roughly a ten-year period of her life. Judging by the show's popularity, there's no reason to think that Morgan won't get to see his idea realised in full.

 

John Lithgow performed his scenes as Winston Churchill with cotton wool stuffed up his nose...

John Lithgow required quite a bit of facial manipulation in order to pull off his portrayal of the wartime Prime Minister, achieving Churchill's famous jowls with the help of a mould fixed to his back teeth. Another trick he used to help with his vocal delivery was stuffing his nostrils with cotton wool to flare his nose a little and altering the tone of his voice.

 

...and he was too tall for 10 Downing Street

Lithgow is a fairly imposing 6'4” in height and since Winston Churchill was a rather more modest 5'6” it wasn't possible to film in front of the real front door of 10 Downing Street, because Lithgow appeared disproportionately tall against its frame. Instead, the set designers had to build a larger replica of the door so that Churchill looked the right height when stood in front of it.

 

The corgis on the show have a major cheese habit...

Claire Foy revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that the dogs appearing in the show have some unexpected eating habits, with a particular preference for cheddar cheese - and lots of it. "These corgis are cheesed up to the max” she told the magazine. “They’re eating like a whole block of cheddar every day. It’s scary."

 

The show has gone down well with members of the real Royal Family...

Or at least it has with those who've seen it. Princess Eugenie is known to be a fan and even the Queen has reportedly signalled her approval. In 2017, The Daily Express reported that the Queen had watched the first season at the suggestion of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie – according to the article regularly visit the monarch and enjoy a movie or TV show with her. The paper's source reported that the Queen “really liked it”, although she added that some scenes were “heavily dramatised.” Prince Phillip, on the other hand, has given the show a wide berth. Actor Matt Smith claims he was told by a friend who met the Prince that he'd taken the opportunity to ask him if he'd watched the show. “Don't be ridiculous”, was the reported response.

 

Paul Bettany nearly took over the role of Prince Phillip for the show's third series...

Although Tobias Menzies was eventually chosen as Matt Smith's replacement in the role of the Duke of Edinburgh, for a long time it was Avengers star Paul Bettany that was in the frame for the job. Eventually, though Bettany's filming schedule proved to be too busy after several attempts to make it work, the actor eventually conceded that it wasn't going to be possible, leaving the door open for Menzies.

 

Matt Smith says he almost died on the show...

In an interview on The Graham Norton Show, Smith revealed that during filming he had a near-death experience at the hands of some “frisky” horses. "We were meant to get on them and trot off and have this lovely love scene, which didn’t even make the cut. In my stupidity, I got on the horse and cantered around and then it just went. I tried to grab a branch and everyone was shouting, 'Oh my God, don’t grab the branch!' So I went under the branch and then down a ravine I was so scared. As it galloped towards a herd of zebra, a huge man grabbed it by the reins and saved my life."

 

 

 

The Crown: Season 2 is available in hmv stores from October 22nd - you can also find it here in our online store.

The Crown: Season Two
The Crown: Season Two Claire Foy

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