Sunday Tittle Tattle: Why You Should Watch “The Crown”

richard grassie portrait photographer

I completely and utterly jinxed myself with last week’s Tittle Tattle, falling into bed like a sack of rocks by lunchtime and spending Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday ill in bed. (I managed to haul myself up on Monday night to attend a chef’s table dinner, but as it was happening in my own kitchen it would have been rude not to! Hugo Boss arranged for Jozef Youssef and his developmental chefs to cook me a three-course meal in my own house to introduce me to their scents For Her and For Him and it was amazing – really something very special. I’ll tell you more about it later this week. But anyway, after that it was straight back to bed for me!)

Being ill wasn’t all bad, though. I got to do a lot of lying down, and because I couldn’t sleep because my nose was so blocked up (still is, actually, I’m not out of the woods yet) I allowed myself to binge-watch things on Netflix. Mostly a drama series on Netflix about the Queen called The Crown. Have you seen it? I thought that it was quite incredible – the costumes, the locations, the attention to detail… Here’s why you should give it a go, if you haven’t already indulged:

  1. It’s a blessed relief after the blood and gore and murders and missing children and drug trafficking and court room tensions of most of the other Netflix series out there. I haven’t ever watched Downton Abbey, but I can imagine that – somehow – The Crown has the same sort of soothing, non-machine-gun-blasting effect.
  2. It’s so well written and brilliantly produced that you completely forget that you’re watching things that actually really happened. Things like the fact that King Edward VIII gave up his throne, all for the love of his life, Wallis Simpson. That Queen Elizabeth II became queen in her twenties, with little in the way of preparation – and, most amazingly, that Queen Elizabeth II is still here! Our queen! It just seems so bizarre, so unlikely, because there’s such a massive difference between life in the 1950s and life now, in a new century. Millennium. Completely unrecognisable world, same queen. Fascinating.
  3. Matt Smith is great as Prince Philip, with his cheeky winks and nods and barely contained sense of mischief. Naturally he has a massive chip on his shoulder because his wife is queen and he’s…the queen’s husband…but his insecurities form a huge part of the storyline, so. Ooh – also, you see his bare bottom, which is quite exciting in such a straight-laced sort of drama.
  4. Princess Margaret is fabulous – a complete style icon and so, so deliciously naughty and headstrong. A good time girl in a world of rather stuffy people. The Crown is almost worth watching just for her  – galloping on her white horse across the countryside, or chain-smoking in bed wearing her silk kimono pyjamas, or causing mayhem with her public speaking…
  5. You might – or might not, I can’t promise – quite fancy the queen’s private secretary, Tommy Lascelles. Never mind the hipster beard, bring back the Tommy ‘Tache! Oooh, and his way with words – so strict, so uncompromising!
  6. The opening titles look and sound like something from a slick box office hit – one of the darker Batman films, perhaps. It could be because the theme tune is by one of my favourite Hollywood composers, Hans Zimmer, or maybe it’s the visuals – the liquid gold pouring slowly and seductively across a smoky black background, very James Bond. Either way, it’s incredibly stylish and sets the tone nicely for the perfectly executed drama that follows.
  7. The queen (played by Claire Foy – in this series, at least), is the most captivating characterless character to have ever held my attention. I mean that in a good way, oddly, in that her character shows little in the way of emotion yet still manages to steal the show. Considering the amount of screen time she has, it’s amazing we don’t die of boredom when she remains stoic and silent for the seventieth time in an hour, but Claire Foy is a total mistress of conveying subtle changes in emotion. She has fifty shades of unreactive up her sleeve and isn’t afraid to use them.

I’m only sad that I finished all ten episodes so quickly – apparently another season has already been commissioned, so I shall just have to be patient and wait for that to come out. Until then, back to the blood and gore and serial killers populating the rest of Netflix. (And blowing my nose eight-five thousand times a day, and lying there with a completely dry mouth and throat because I can’t breathe through my nose. I HATE COLDS!)

Photo courtesy of Richard Grassie:

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