The Crown: How Successful was Netflix’s £100 Million gamble?


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Since its emergence, Netflix has penned many a successful series. ‘13 Reasons Why’ is currently a raging success as I write this blog, and for over a year now I myself have been absolutely in love with the US take on the classic British series ‘House of Cards’ starring an enigmatic Kevin Spacey as the devilish president making Trump look like a pussy cat.

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But perhaps the greatest series I have watched in recent weeks, and perhaps of all time on Netflix is the saga of the death of King George VI and the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II.

The creation is truly a masterpiece. Before even so much as settling to watch the first episode, it’s impossible to not be impressed by the cast, starring Claire Foy, Matt Smith and Richard Harris amongst many. Equally as impressive is its haunting score, composed by Hans Zimmer who has recorded the OST for Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception and received an Academy Award for scoring The Lion King.

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The Crown had evolved from creator Peter Morgan’s popular 2006 film ‘The Queen’ and his play ‘The Audience’. Netflix’s budget for the series was an astounding £100 Million, a big risk even for a company as big as the entertainment giant. It was a risk that has without a shadow of a doubt paid off.

In short, it was a resounding success. It picked up Best Television Series, and Best Actress for Claire Foy (pictured above) at the Golden Globe Awards 2017. Review sites everywhere have showered it with praise, and a second series at the very least had already been commissioned. It is Morgan’s vision for the there to be six series’ in total spanning the six decades of Elizabeth II’s ongoing reign. Interestingly, his vision is for the cast to change every two seasons, so that each of the Actors involved are age appropriate to their character.

Many scene’s stand out in the first series, including dialogue between the ex-King Edward VIII The Duke of Windsor and his mother the Queen Mary, and fiery tennis racket throwing clashes between Elizabeth and Philip. One of the most emotional of all are between John Lithgow’s remarkable turn as Winston Churchill (another award winner for ‘Crown) and Game of Thrones’ steely Stannis Baratheon, Stephen Dillane who plays a portrait artist. Extended dialogue between the two regarding child loss could have brought anyone to tears, and was truly outstanding.

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However the success of this series isn’t confined to the Creative Industry. Not for the first-time popularity of a film or TV series is boosting the tourism industry too. The Telegraph reported earlier this year that a study had shown that nearly a quarter of tourists who were planning on a trip to the UK said that television programmes such as The Crown had helped to make up their minds, according to a study of nearly 10,000 holidaymakers.

Therefore, with such an impressive range of actors, awards, and influence on its viewers, it’s no surprise that the killer budget of series one is set to be doubled to a cool £200 Million for its second outing! The rising budgets for The Crown could arguably even cover the eye watering public cost of renovating Buckingham Palace itself.

At a time where public opinion of the younger generation seems to move further and further from approval of the Royal Family, it’s interesting to see that this gamble from Netflix has hit off so well with the public. It’ll be interesting to see the dizzying heights it could reach when Princess Diana or the dashing Prince Harry have their turns to feature!

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