The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is here, and it rather works in my favour that I drifted off with Season 5 around halfway through, and only really caught up with the rest in the week prior to watching these first four episodes.
Back then, we were heading for 1997, as Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) was only just coming into Diana’s sphere, and Tony Blair had come to power on a landslide, where he eventually showed himself to be more Tory than the Tories, and later left power in 2007, owning SEVEN houses! Very socialist(!)
Just remember, Britain, you had your chance for a decent Prime Minister in 2019 with Jeremy Corbyn, and too many boneheads believed the mainstream media and chose Bozo the Clown.
Anyhoo, also where things left off, this was the point of the Hong Kong handover. With Season 6, we open with the last day of August, when one of the world’s greatest women was sadly taken from us. Anyone who was around at the time will know what happened, but to avoid spoilers for anyone who doesn’t, all I’ll say is that, at least, this moment is treated respectfully.
We then go back eight weeks in the build-up to this tragedy, where Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) is going with William to Chequers, to visit Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie. And like at the end of Season 5, Blair is portrayed by Bertie Carvel, who also played Nick Clegg in the 2015 Channel 4 drama, Coalition. Now… how long will it be before he gets a chance to play Gordon Brown? That’s a must, later on, surely!
Along with Camilla’s 50th birthday, there are the beginnings of the brief romance between Diana and Dodi, and it’s hard to realise that when Diana is seen hugging her sons before she goes to Bosnia for her landmine charity – and then to Paris with Dodi – it’s the last time she’ll ever see them, given the ensuing and excessive press harrassment.
The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is brief, but exceptional drama, although you do realise that private conservations will generally be created for the drama, as no-one can know exactly what happened. But then Netflix have always said they’re making a drama, not a documentary.
There was controversy in the trailer, with Diana appearing next to the Queen post-August 31st. When it happens, it feels very ‘Six Feet Under‘, but it does actually work. And there is more I could say about that, but I’ll leave you to discover it. All I will say, is that if this drives the likes of the Daily Mail and Daily Express even more mad than they normally are, then that’s fine by me.
With just four episodes in Part 1 (which is all I’ve seen so far), and the remaining five to come in Part 2, when that streams from December 14th, everyone is on top form as always, but particular mention goes to Ms Debicki as Diana, who puts in an incredible performance.
Jonathan Pryce is always good value, too, but then his Prince Philip doesn’t half come across as a massive aerosol.
However, I’m not quite sure why this IS split into two parts, when the main event is in the first part. Of course, they could carry on with more content for a season 7, but then – drama-wise – how can you top the death of Princess Diana for the way to go out? Yes, that sounds crass, but I’m thinking in terms of a broadcaster who wants top ratings.
Thanks to our friends at Netflix for the screener prior to release.
The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from today.
Running time: 39-60 minutes per episode (Part 1: 4 episodes; Part 2: 6 episodes)
Release date: November 16 2023
Directors: Alex Gabassi, Christian Schwochow, Erik Richter Strand, May el-Toukhy, Stephen Daldry
Producers: Michael Casey, Oona O’Beirn, Andy Stebbing, Martin Harrison, Eve Swannell
Creator: Peter Morgan
Writers: Peter Morgan, Daniel Marc Janes
Queen Elizabeth II: Imelda Staunton
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: Jonathan Pryce
Princess Diana: Elizabeth Debicki
Prince Charles: Dominic West
Dodi Al-Fayed: Khalid Abdalla
Mohammed Al-Fayed: Salim Dau
Prince William: Rufus Kampa
Prince Harry: Fflynn Edwards
Tony Blair: Bertie Carvel
Prince Andrew: James Murray
Prince Edward: Sam Woolf
Princess Anne: Claudia Harrison
Princess Margaret: Lesley Manville
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: Marcia Warren
John Major: Jonny Lee Miller
Norma Major: Flora Montgomery
Camilla Parker Bowles: Olivia Williams
Queen Mother: Marcia Warren
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.