Diana rapping Hamilton is the best part.
I’ve now seen all of The Crown! God I love it, but in a very weird way. It’s a guilty pleasure I guess. You have to go into it knowing that it’s a) highlighting a bunch of completely horrible people and b) mostly just stylish bollocks. But REALLY ENTERTAINING stylish bollocks, you know?
Absolutely the highlight of this season for me was Emma Corrin’s Princess Diana, pretty much the only not completely horrible person in the show. Disclosure: I always geniunely liked Diana the person, or what I knew of her, she died when I was about seven. I admired her AIDs work, so I’m glad the show mentioned that. I think the writers and Corrin struck a good balance between the different aspects of Di’s personality. She was naive and innocent but on the other side of that she was immature and childish. She hated a lot of royal life but she also loved the attention. I’m glad they didn’t portray her as a saint, it would be doing her a massive disservice.
Also shout out to Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher, a great performance of a wretched human being. I’ve seen people say online that her accent was bizarre but that’s what the real Thatcher sounded like! Honestly! Go dig out some old videos of her! I appreciate that they didn’t bother making her sympathetic. Her scenes also taught me some history I didn’t know, like the South Africa thing with her son, my God why didn’t I know that? That’s a pretty damn big deal.
The only person in this show who I think might be miscast is Emerald Fennell as Camilla. Not because she’s a bad actress, far from it, but she’s just too pretty. This is hard to explain without sounding mean but the real Camilla wasn’t particuarly good-looking and this actually factors into the show, Camilla laments that she could never be as beautiful as Diana. But it’s coming from someone who clearly is beautiful, just stuck with unflattering hair.
(Also the meeting between Camilla and Diana at a restaurant called “Menage A Trois” probably didn’t actually happen, but I suspect that scene will do little to improve Camilla’s popularity over here.)
I love all the visual foreshadowing in this show. When Diana’s in New York you can see the World Trade Center looming behind her car, a reminder that in only a decade or so the world would change even more. And of course just Diana being shown in cars so much also serves as foreshadowing really.
Just as with last year’s “Aberfan,” the best episode of this season is the one that looks at the lives of normal people, the ones this lot are supposed to be serving. This time around it was “Fagan” which tells the story of Michael Fagan, the guy who broke into Buckingham Palace (twice) and tried to get the Queen to talk to him. It’s very embellished in the show but it gets the point across, that things were very different on the other side of the wall.
I am so darkly amused by the fact that none of the Stand trailers so far have mentioned that the story takes place after a deadly pandemic. Maybe they oughta just lean into it at this point.
The Queen but mostly Princess Diana! Honestly I always had a lot of sympathy for Princess Di. She was just a messed up kid thrown into the royal family and expected to fend for herself while everyone treated her like shit. (Wonder if they’ll mention the quite significant age difference between her and Charles :/ )
Okay The Watch doesn’t look terrible as a show (I guess) but it very obviously has NOTHING to do with the Discworld series it’s based on. So why even bother? Ugggh. Rhianna Pratchett’s thoughts are also mine.
MAN I know most of these people presented here are terrible but I’m so obsessed with The Crown. Or maybe I’m just obsessed with the cast’s acting skills? Here we finally meet Emma Corrin’s Diana and Gillian Anderson’s Thatcher, except we don’t see either of their faces, very cunning. And hey the season after this will be stuff I was actually alive for!
I consider watching The Crown to be a guilty pleasure more than anything else. I know these people generally aren’t good people, and the institution that protects them is even worse. (Please someone put Prince Andrew in prison already.) So I don’t really watch it to feel emotion, just to marvel at the costumes and cinematography and occasionally learn something new about recent history.
“Aberfan” was different, though. I already knew the basics about the Aberfan disaster, how it could easily have been prevented and how most of the victims were young children. But that didn’t prepare me for how it’s all portrayed in this episode. You get to know the kids and their parents a little bit before the opening credits and then fifteen minutes later the adults are frantically digging through rubble with their bare hands to find their children. Most don’t succeed.
116 children altogether died at Aberfan. It wasn’t that long ago, 1966, and there are still survivors alive. Some of them consulted with Netflix on this episode, which was absolutely the right thing for Netflix to do when releasing an episode about something like this. There’s an article about it from the Radio Times here which has some words from the survivors and it also mentions how Netflix provided a psychologist for them. That’s good too.
This is a stunning episode of television. It’s beautifully shot. All through it you feel like an outsider observing terrible grief from a safe distance, which is exactly what the Queen does in this episode.
The bosses who allowed the accident to happen are given no sympathy here, none whatsoever. The episode also kept in the most famous quote regarding the tragedy –
The brave front of the people of Aberfan cracked on Monday at an inquest on 30 of the children.
There were shouts of “murderers” as the Coroner of Merthyr, Mr. Ben Hamilton, began reading out the names of the dead children.
As one name was read out and the cause of death given as asphyxia and multiple injuries, the father of the child said “No, sir, buried alive by the National Coal Board”.from here
I don’t know the name of the person who said that either in real life or in the show, but it’s in there.
All in all this feels like a respectful treatment of a terrible event, but at the same time… I wish it hadn’t all been squished around a plot about the Queen trying to explore her emotions. In terms of The Crown itself it’s good character development and all but I kinda feel like something like Aberfan is bigger than one episode of a TV show. It’s good in terms of getting the story out there, because I’m pretty sure the disaster is completely unknown of outside the UK, but I wish it hadn’t taken a million-dollar high-profile show like The Crown to get to tell the story, you know? We should have talked about the tragedy more without having to drag the Queen, who was barely involved, into things to make it more interesting/marketable/what have you.
I have really mixed feelings about all of this, you can probably tell. But I was sad watching it, and I did cry. Partly because I feel like, you know, a few more seasons to go and The Crown can do an episode about Grenfell, and by the time that happens there’ll probably have been at least one more preventable disaster caused by faceless corporations, and then there’ll be another one after that and after that and after that, long after the Queen is dead and The Crown is done.
First thought: What a FANTASTIC cover of The Times They Are A-Changing. I love it. Where can I find it?!?!
Other thoughts: I can’t remember the name of the actor playing young Charles but physically he’s perfect. Interesting there’s no Diana in the trailer (although there is Camilla.)
I think this show may be playing up the rivalry between Queen Liz and her sister a LOT, because nothing I’ve ever read indicated they had that amount of animosity between them.
I sense a few hundred more awards in Olivia Colman’s future.
Funny that this dropped a few days after Meghan’s speech about the insane expectations placed on the royals, and how difficult she finds it having no privacy and being harassed by the likes of the Mail and the Sun. The times they aren’t a-changing.
It doesn’t really reveal much but I think Colman’s delivery of “Old bat?” is going to go down as one of my top ten Favourite Line Deliveries ever.
There are some *very* mixed feelings on Twitter right now…
My mom and I are on the second season of The Crown, and I’m already super stoked about the later seasons because that’s when shit gets REALLY interesting in Elizabeth II’s reign. Not only do you have Princess Margaret’s life, but you also have the 80s and 90s where the reign has experienced some of its BIGGEST scandals, not least of all the fact that three of her children had very public and controversial divorces.
I’m not a fan of monarchies as institutions, but as a history buff, royalty almost never fails to entertain.
(yes I’m bingewatching some more of The Crown) Actually the scene where Philip imagines his sister’s death is really well done and the Nazi funeral scene is really creepy and unsettling. I suppose I feel sorry for young Philip, I just… strongly dislike old Philip. (I’m not fond of Even Older, Still Alive Philip either, even though everyone else seems to be.)
s’interesting to look at this episode in the light of what’s been going on with the royal family in the past few years, Harry coming out about going off the rails after his mother’s death and seeing a therapist and eventually starting a mental health campaign. That would’ve made a really good coda to this episode actually.