The Crown (season 4)

The Crown
Season 4
The Crown season 4.jpg
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom[1]
  • United States[2]
No. of episodes10
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 3
List of The Crown episodes

The fourth season of The Crown, which follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, was released on Netflix on November 15, 2020.[3]

Olivia Colman stars as Elizabeth, with main cast members Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O'Connor, Marion Bailey, Erin Doherty and Emerald Fennell all reprising their roles from the third season. Gillian Anderson, Emma Corrin and Stephen Boxer are added to the main cast. Additionally, Charles Dance returns in the season's first episode and Claire Foy reprises her role as Elizabeth in a flashback scene.

Premise

The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 through to the present day.[4]

The fourth season covers the time period between 1977 and 1990, is set during Margaret Thatcher's premiership, and introduces Lady Diana Spencer, Prince William and Prince Harry.[5][6] Events depicted include the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer,[7] their 1983 tour of Australia and New Zealand,[8][9] the Falklands War,[10] Michael Fagan's break-in at Buckingham Palace,[11] Lord Mountbatten's funeral,[12] the Princess of Wales's appearance at the Barnardo's Champion Children Awards, and Thatcher's departure from office.[11]

Cast

Main

Featured

The below actors are credited in the opening titles of single episodes in which they play a significant role:

Recurring

Guest

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
311"Gold Stick"Benjamin CaronPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
During a date with Sarah Spencer, Charles meets her younger sister Diana. In 1979, the Conservative Party wins the general election and Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female prime minister. Elizabeth is surprised when Thatcher expresses contempt for their gender during their first audience. While on holiday in Iceland, Charles receives a phone call from Mountbatten, who criticises his ongoing affair with Camilla. The royal family later learns Mountbatten and three people, including his grandson Nicholas, were killed by a bomb planted on his fishing boat. The Provisional IRA takes responsibility. This prompts Thatcher to vow to defeat them. Charles receives a letter Mountbatten wrote the day he died, which urges him to find a wife. After seeing Diana at a showjumping event, Charles asks Sarah's permission to start dating her.
322"The Balmoral Test"Paul WhittingtonPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Thatcher pushes through significant spending cuts in her first budget, against opposition from some colleagues. The Thatchers spend a weekend with the royal family at Balmoral, having been warned about "the Balmoral test". The Thatchers do not get along with their hosts, and leave early using the excuse of state business. Charles continues to confide in Camilla; she encourages him to pursue Diana. Diana is invited to Balmoral. Not only does she pass the "test" but she impresses them by spotting a stag for shooting. The family push Charles to think about marrying her, despite his reservations. Thatcher reshuffles her Cabinet to dismiss her opponents.
333"Fairytale"Benjamin CaronPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Charles proposes to Diana, and she accepts. Diana moves from her London flatshare into the palace, amid a media frenzy. She is tutored in the ways of the palace by her grandmother whose teaching style is formal and unsympathetic, and suffers repeated episodes of an eating disorder. While Charles is abroad, she meets Camilla for lunch, and realises that she hardly knows Charles at all, while Camilla knows every detail of their relationship. Distressed, she thinks of calling the marriage off. Meanwhile Charles returns from his trip and sees Camilla before returning home; he tells Diana he had visited her to end their relationship. Margaret tells the Queen and Philip that Charles still loves Camilla and that the marriage will be a mistake, but Philip says that Charles will grow to love Diana. The Queen tells Charles to focus on his duty, and happiness will follow. The marriage goes ahead amid huge public celebrations.
344"Favourites"Paul WhittingtonPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
The Queen meets Thatcher and criticises the state of the economy. Thatcher gets emotional about her son, who is missing while competing in the 1982 Paris–Dakar Rally. Philip and Elizabeth discuss favourite children; Philip says he favours Anne, but won't say who he thinks is hers. Elizabeth has her secretary arrange for her to meet each of her children separately and give her details of their likes and dislikes so that she should not appear remote to them. Each of her children expresses dissatisfaction with their lives and reveals information Elizabeth did not know. Argentina invades the Falkland Islands, and Thatcher demands action to recover them. Mark Thatcher is found in Algeria. Diana is pregnant, and her relationship with Charles has deteriorated. He tells Elizabeth that he is still in regular contact with Camilla. Elizabeth shares her concern about their children's lives with Philip.
355"Fagan"Paul WhittingtonJonathan D. Wilson & Peter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Thatcher tells the Queen about the recapture of the Falklands. Meanwhile, unemployment is rising, and Michael Fagan goes to see his MP to complain about the economy and the money spent on the war. The MP sarcastically suggests he should raise his concerns with the Queen. Fagan’s life contrasts with that of the Queen - his cramped rundown squalor of a high-rise council estate, and the spacious luxury and wealth of the Palace. One evening, Fagan climbs over the palace railings. Inside, he is spotted but makes his escape. After being denied contact with his children by social services, he returns and breaks into the palace again, finding the Queen in her bedroom. Fagan talks with the Queen and asks her to save the country from the PM. After Thatcher and the Queen discuss their different social outlooks, the PM leaves to attend the Falklands victory parade.
366"Terra Nullius"Julian JarroldPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Republican Bob Hawke becomes Australian prime minister, raising the stakes for Charles and Diana’s impending royal visit. He hopes the high cost of the visit will provide the necessary tipping point to public backing of a republic. Diana insists on taking baby Prince William on the tour, to the Queen's disapproval. Charles and Diana discuss the difficulties of their marriage; Diana complains about his continuing interest in Camilla; they agree to try harder and, after a shaky start, the visit turns into a success with huge crowds turning out to see the young Princess, and their relationship temporarily improves. The Queen rewatches film footage of her own and Philip's tour of Australia in 1954 and becomes unsettled at the thought that this new royal tour is proving more successful, apparently due to the Australian public liking the family of Charles, Diana and child. At an official reception, Hawke tells Charles that Diana has saved the monarchy in Australia. Charles and Diana argue again, and her eating disorder worsens. Back in the UK, they return to separate homes. Diana sees the Queen and tells of their unhappy marriage, but Elizabeth is unsympathetic and, when Diana tries to hug her, she walks out.
377"The Hereditary Principle"Jessica HobbsPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
With Edward coming of age, Margaret's public role is reduced, causing her to fall into depression. She travels out of the country to recuperate from having part of her lung removed and starts seeing a therapist on Charles's advice. After the therapist inadvertently mentions her deceased maternal first cousins Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, Margaret learns they are still alive and, along with three other family members, were quietly confined to mental institutions for "imbecility". She confronts the Queen Mother, who insists the royal family had no choice, because the knowledge would have called the purity of the bloodline into question. Margaret confides her insecurities about becoming mad to her therapist, who reassures her she will not, later reassuming her role yet brooding in private.
388"48:1"Julian JarroldPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Thatcher and the Queen clash over imposing sanctions on apartheid South Africa. The Queen believes that the sanctions are necessary to fight racial segregation and bring the Commonwealth nations together, yet Thatcher believes this would hurt Britain's trade. After a series of modifications, including changing the word sanctions to signals, Thatcher signs the agreement to impose pressure on South Africa. Back in the UK, the press claims that the Queen is "dismayed" with the prime minister's actions. When questioned about it directly by Thatcher, the Queen insists on her apolitical position yet tells her press secretary to remain silent about rumours of a feud between the two women. The Queen's household holds the press secretary Michael Shea responsible for the rumours, to take the attention away from the Queen.
399"Avalanche"Jessica HobbsPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
At a gala organised by the Royal Opera House in honour of Charles's birthday, Diana surprises the audience by taking the stage and performing a duet to "Uptown Girl", prompting Charles to resent her popularity. He leaves on a ski trip to Switzerland but returns after surviving an avalanche that kills his friend Hugh Lindsay. When Elizabeth learns both Charles and Diana have been unfaithful, she and Philip attempt to get the couple to reconcile. At a meeting, Diana promises to remain faithful while Charles is not given a chance to speak. Anne later tells Charles he should not be delusional about his affair, and Camilla tells him they should be realistic about their relationship. As Charles keeps ignoring Diana, she resumes her affair with James Hewitt.
4010"War"Jessica HobbsPeter MorganNovember 15, 2020 (2020-11-15)
Thatcher finds her leadership challenged after Geoffrey Howe tenders his resignation in Parliament. Thatcher asks Elizabeth to dissolve Parliament but is reminded that both the Conservatives and the country are against her. She later steps down as prime minister, and receives the rare honour of the Order of Merit from Elizabeth. Meanwhile, despite doubts about her capability to carry a solo trip, Diana travels to New York City on Concorde and charms the public. When the royal family gathers at Balmoral for Christmas, Elizabeth refuses to listen to Charles and Diana's complaints, telling Charles that he should be grateful for their privilege. Philip tells Diana she is not the only person suffering and should focus on serving Elizabeth, warning her of the consequences she will face if the marriage fails.

Production

Development

By October 2017, "early production" had begun on an anticipated third and fourth season,[13] and by the following January, Netflix confirmed the series had been renewed for a third and fourth season.[5]

Casting

The producers recast some roles with older actors every two seasons, as the timeline moves forward and the characters age.[32] In October 2017, Olivia Colman was cast as Queen Elizabeth II for the third and fourth seasons.[13] By January 2018, Helena Bonham Carter and Paul Bettany were in negotiations to portray Princess Margaret and Prince Philip, respectively, for these seasons.[33][34] However, by the end of the month Bettany was forced to drop out due to the time commitment required.[35] By the end of March 2018, Tobias Menzies was cast as Prince Philip for the third and fourth seasons.[14] In early May 2018, Bonham Carter was confirmed to have been cast, alongside Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson.[15] The next month, Ben Daniels was cast as Antony Armstrong-Jones for the third season,[36] along with Erin Doherty joining the series as Princess Anne.[20] A month later, Josh O'Connor and Marion Bailey were cast as Prince Charles and the Queen Mother, respectively, for the third and fourth seasons.[17] In October 2018, Emerald Fennell was cast as Camilla Shand.[21] In December 2018, Charles Dance was cast as Louis Mountbatten.[22] In April 2019, Emma Corrin was cast as Lady Diana Spencer for the fourth season.[37] Gillian Anderson, who had been rumoured since January 2019 to be in talks to portray Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season, was officially confirmed for the role in September 2019.[16][38][39]

Filming

The fourth season began filming in August 2019 and wrapped in March 2020.[40][41] The producers confirmed that filming was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown; the release date was not delayed.[42]

Release

The fourth season was released on 15 November 2020.[43][3]

Reception

Rotten Tomatoes reported a 96% approval rating for the fourth season based on 81 reviews, with an average rating of 8.67/10. Its critical consensus reads: "Whatever historical liberties The Crown takes in its fourth season are easily forgiven thanks to the sheer power of its performances – particularly Gillian Anderson's imposing take on The Iron Lady and newcomer Emma Corrin's embodiment of a young Princess Diana."[44] On Metacritic, the season holds a score of 85 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[45]

Writing in The Atlantic, Shirley Li describes the drama as "sharper than ever" and "splashy", but observes that, in contrast to the first three seasons, the fourth criticises the Queen for her "ignorance" and "stubborn devotion to tradition".[46] In the Evening Standard, Katie Rosseinsky wrote that the season's episodes are "dizzyingly beautiful and staggering in scope", and highlights the outstanding performances of Anderson and Corrin as respectively Thatcher and Lady Diana.[47] In The New Zealand Herald, university professor Giselle Bastin described the season as "a masterly portrait of the turbulent 1980s" and complimented the production standards, casting and acting.[48]

In a critical review, Dominic Patten of Deadline Hollywood complimented the earlier seasons but said that the fourth had "substantially tweaked timelines" and was "sub-standard soap", and that, despite Colman's performance, some of the other characters were like "Spitting Image live-action caricature".[49] Writing in The Guardian, Simon Jenkins described the season as "fake history", "reality hijacked as propaganda, and a cowardly abuse of artistic licence" which fabricated history to suit its own preconceived narrative.[50] The season has received backlash from the British royal family and some royal commentators. Royal historian Hugo Vickers stated: "In this particular series, every member of the royal family, in my view, comes out of it badly, except the Princess of Wales (Diana). It's totally one sided, it's totally against Prince Charles."[51] Royal biographer Penny Junor criticised the season as portraying the British royal family as "villains", stating that "The Crown's royals are wild, cruel distortions of the people I've known for 40 years."[52][53]

References

  1. ^ "Netflix plans original UK drama about the Queen". BBC News Online. 23 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  2. ^ Brown, Mick (3 November 2016). "The Crown: Claire Foy and Matt Smith on the making of the £100m Netflix series". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b Kanter, Jake (20 August 2020). "'The Crown': Netflix Sets Premiere Date, Drops First Trailer For Season 4". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  4. ^ Singh, Anita (19 August 2015). "£100m Netflix Series Recreates Royal Wedding". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b Bentley, Jean (January 24, 2018). "'The Crown' Season 3: All the Details (So Far)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Sutton, Megan (19 February 2020). "First look pictures show young Prince William in The Crown season 4". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  7. ^ Griffiths, Eleanor (9 September 2020). "When is The Crown season 4's Netflix release date? Cast, trailer and latest news". RadioTimes. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  8. ^ "The Prince and Princess of Wales' 1983 tour of Australia and New Zealand". The Telegraph. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  9. ^ Vivinetto, Gina (2 October 2019). "'The Crown' stars re-create Prince Charles and Princess Diana's tour of Australia". Today. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
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  23. ^ "The Crown season 4: Palace intruder Michael Fagan 'wasn't consulted' over incident depiction". Metro. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
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  27. ^ Who was Princess Diana’s grandmother Lady Fermoy? The Crown season 4 explained
  28. ^ Princess Diana’s Sister Sarah Spencer Still Plays An Important Role In The Royal Family
  29. ^ The Crown Recap: Family Secrets
  30. ^ Meet the cast of The Crown season 4
  31. ^ Stephen Greif Latest News
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  47. ^ Rosseinsky, Katie (10 November 2020). "The Crown review, season 4: Emma Corrin shines in role of Diana as Netflix's royal saga returns to form". www.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  48. ^ Bastin, Gilelle. "The Crown season 4 review: A masterly portrait of the turbulent 1980s and a perfectly wide-eyed Diana". www.nzherald.co.nz. New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
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