The Crown showrunner agonised over breaking show rules for Churchill in series three


THE Crown showrunner agonised over breaking the Netflix show’s rules for Winston Churchill in series three.

The hit series returned for its third season on Sunday, with Olivia Colman taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Claire Foy.

The Crown showrunner agonised over breaking the Netflix show’s rules for Winston Churchill in series three

The season focuses on events between 1964 and 1976, but viewers are treated to a surprise cameo from John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, the Queen’s first Prime Minister.

Having not been seen since the end of season one, the show’s creator Peter Morgan explained why he decided to bring him back for a brief appearance in season three.

Speaking on the show’s official podcast, he said: “We really agonised about that, because to bring John Lithgow over and to hire him just to do one scene, there was a lot of hand-wringing about that.

“And we have this strict rule that the minute a prime minister is out of office you don’t see them again.

John played the infamous Prime Minister in series one of the Netflix show
Creator Peter Morgan said Churchill’s cameo showed a ‘vulnerable’ side of the Queen

“The reason why ultimately we decided to go back to having Churchill for a scene is because it felt like another bit of vulnerability for her [Queen Elizabeth II], you know.

“He was the last connection with her father and also he was her first prime minister.”

“She’d so relied on him. But now, of course, by this point in her life and her reign, she’s confident. She’s had three or four prime ministers by now.”

The Monarch’s vulnerability at this stage in her reign was something that fascinated Peter, as he continued: “I liked how vulnerable it made her feel and in this episode and the first episode of course we’re exploring the idea that not only might Downing Street be compromised, but also Buckingham Palace is compromised, as we’re in the Cold War now, by a traitor.

Olivia Colman has taken over as the Monarch from Claire Foy for series three and four

“And she’s left feeling even more vulnerable without Churchill there somehow to protect her.

“It’s a certain type of England that’s gone when he goes. The post-Churchillian landscape is suddenly very different and instead of him you have Harold Wilson.”

In season three, Jason Watkins takes on the role of Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Meanwhile, X Files star Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher in series four of The Crown.

The Crown is available to stream on Netflix now.