Oh boy, here we go again! The upcoming sixth series of The Crown has already been hit with controversy over how it will portray the 1997 car crash death of Princess Diana, and now we have news that scripts had to be rewritten after Gillian Anderson, who played the iconic role of PM Margaret Thatcher, declined to return.
Despite producers’ best efforts, the US actress was not for returning as Maggie, leaving the show in a bit of a pickle. The Crown fans were delighted with Anderson’s portrayal of the Iron Lady and she won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance. It’s a real shame that we won’t be seeing her again, but let’s be honest, clever scripting will ensure that viewers won’t even notice she’s not there.
The original plan was for a scene covering Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s golden wedding anniversary, with Anderson reprising her role as Thatcher. The script had the Queen and Philip sitting on golden thrones in front of distinguished guests, including Baroness Thatcher, Princess Anne, and The Queen Mother. Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues, Anderson won’t be able to make an appearance. The exact diary clash behind her decision is not known, but we do know that she spent time helping War Child with its campaign to help those caught up in the Ukraine conflict in February, when the scenes were being filmed.
But fear not, The Crown fans! Producers have shifted the action to a second dinner, originally held on November 20, and Imelda Staunton will take on the role of Queen Elizabeth. She’ll be delivering the famous “strength and stay” speech about the Duke, played by Jonathan Pryce. This time around, Baroness Thatcher was not in attendance, so Anderson’s absence won’t be felt as keenly.
Let’s hope the production runs a little more smoothly from here on out. The Crown is one of the biggest shows produced by Netflix, and since it began in 2016, the drama surrounding the reign of Elizabeth has been viewed on 73 million accounts around the world. It was initially set to end after five series, but due to demand and the complexity of the storylines, a sixth and final series was added. Fingers crossed it goes out with a bang!