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 :/ )
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 thatlong 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”.
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.
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.
GOD is there a worse man in The Crown than Philip. He’s married to a woman who inexplicably loves him and he cheats on her. He’s got kids and he’s a jerk to them. He’s got all the power and privilege a person could have AND he still gets to have have drinking parties with his mates all the time AND YET he just WILL NOT STOP BITCHING about how AWFUL it is to not be king and have to defer to his wife. Who is the queen? And who does all the actual work? SUCK IT THE HELL UP, Phil