Matt Smith joins Netflix royal drama The Crown

The former Doctor Who joins Claire Foy and John Lithgow in Netflix's first original UK production

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Matt Smith joins Netflix royal drama The Crown

Netflix has announced its cast for The Crown, an epic drama about Queen Elizabeth II and the many Prime Ministers who have served her.

Smith will play Philip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh, while Wolf Hall's Claire Foy is to portray the monarch, and veteran actor John Lithgow will play Winston Churchill.

Based on Peter Morgan's play The Audience, The Crown is Netflix's first original UK production and its first season will focus on the 25-year old Princess Elizabeth establishing herself as head of state while forging a relationship with domineering Prime Minster Winston Churchill.

With a rumoured budget of £100 million, subsequent seasons of The Crown will focus the following decades, with different actresses set to play the monarch.

With no less than a dozen Prime Ministers having served Her Royal Highness, there's plenty of drama to explore over her 63-year reign. We thought we'd take a quick look at how has the big screen in recent years has dealt with the ups and downs of the Royal Family during the monarch's life?

The King's Speech (2010)
Tom Hooper's Oscar darling details the fractious relationship between Queen Elizabeth II's father, King George VI, and his speech therapist Lionel Logue. The King enlisted the services of Australian Logue to help him overcome a debilitating stammer and the pair later became firm friends. Colin Firth's performance as the King garnered him a plethora of awards including an Oscar for Best Actor.

Diana (2013)
Based on the last two years of Diana, Princess of Wales' life, Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel's biopic took a critical mauling thanks to a rotten script and the questionable prosthetics designed to turn Naomi Watts into the 'People's Princess'. Bitter recriminations since the film's release suggest that the director may have had less to do with the final cut than was originally thought.

The Queen (2003)
Written by The Crown's Peter Morgan, The Queen explores the Royal Family's response to the sudden death of Princess Diana over the tumultuous days following a car crash in Paris. Helen Mirren plays the monarch to tremendous critical acclaim (and an Oscar for Best Actress), with Michael Sheen reprising his role as Prime Minister Tony Blair (following writer Morgan and director Stephen Frears' TV film The Deal).

The Crown will debut on Netflix in 2016

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