The Crown, Netflix

★★★★☆

Britain is in more trouble both socially and politically as the Royal Family return for a compulsive third series

The Crown writers have always done a very decent job of looking around, rather than just under, the royal headpiece. But while key moments in British history, incoming and outgoing prime ministers, and international affairs all played their part in series one and two, things really crank up a notch in this third chapter.

Throwing large budgetary caution to the wind, the production team recreates the mining tragedy of Aberfan in 1966 (keep your tissues close to hand) and dives headlong into the political maelstrom. An attempted coup to overthrow the popular Labour PM Harold Wilson in 1968, the angry disgruntlement of the Welsh people at Prince Charles' investiture in 1969, and the gruelling blackouts of the 'three day week' in 1974 are all given equal weighting alongside Elizabeth and her increasingly troubled family.

Surprisingly, it takes mere seconds to forget how much we loved Claire Foy and Matt Smith in the starring roles of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, so perfectly suited to the parts are Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies. As are Helena Bonham Carter as the radiant but emotionally damaged Princess Margaret, and Josh O'Connor in the role of a heartbreakingly lonely Prince Charles, while Erin Doherty deserves plaudits for playing the hard-as-nails Princess Anne.

Surrounded by unlimited swathes of opulence and privilege, they all manage to make it unequivocally clear to the viewing public that swapping places with the royals might improve the food on your plate and clothes on your back. But when it comes to happiness and self-determination, that cupboard is absolutely bare.

Episodes watched: 10 of 10

The Crown is available on Netflix, Sunday 17 November.

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