Film news

The Queen of soaps, about to start on Netflix

28th October 2016
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Dubbed the “classiest possible soap opera” a fictionalised series about the Queen’s life, The Crown, cost Netflix over £100 million.

The first series starts on November 4th, here’s the trailer.

Its lavish production filmed across London’s stunning period locations in Haringey, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark and Camden for both this series and the next – which is already being shot.

American actor John Lithgow, remarkable as Winston Churchill, filmed in Bromley’s old town hall, now Exchequer House, on Widmore Road. The building played Conservative Party Headquarters in the 1950s, with Churchill arriving amid a throng of excited onlookers – no less than 150 in fact.

The huge cast and crew filmed the scenes in October last year. It was Lithgow who said The Crown is “the classiest possible soap opera with incredible high stakes.”

Lithgow says he was astonished when he was invited to play the role. “He’s part of the landscape, the furniture of Britain, so of course I feel very intimidated by the task. But I think it’s quite an ingenious choice, almost because I’m so different.” Not least physically; Lithgow is a foot taller than Churchill was – the production had to make the door of 10 Downing Street taller to maintain proportion.

Camden’s Fitzroy Square welcomed the shoot – along with a generous donation to the residents group. A home on the square became the 1950s house of Peter Townsend, who had hoped to marry Princess Margaret. But their romance proved scandalous and the Queen would not allow her sister to marry him. We see Townsend mobbed in Fitzroy Square by photographers and journalists.

There was more lush interior filming in Southwark Cathedral and old Hornsey Town Hall in Haringey – again with cast and crew reaching 150.

And in January this year, Senate House in Camden’s Malet Street loaned its west courtyard to play Australia, where a state parade for the royal couple was staged.

We see Camden’s Bedford Row as well, and we view the Palace of Westminster from Lambeth’s Albert Embankment.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Haringey, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark and Camden Councils. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “There’s no overstating the production values Netflix brought to this series.

“It was a delight to see our period locations lending just the right glamour. Critics have applauded the show for bringing humanity and depth to the character of the Queen.

“I like to think that, just as the drama will help us see the Queen through fresh eyes, so will its important locations – many of which we pass on street regularly without noticing particularly.”