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Those seeking escapism in “The Crown” will find it all too real

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Tom Meadowcroft

I find "The Crown" quite compelling, although I'm not sure why. I'm not a monarchist and I think QE2 has made many an error over the length of her reign. I suppose it comes down to the fact that I found Lithgow's portrayal of the very flawed Churchill brilliant, and Claire Foy has succeeded in making Elizabeth a sympathetic figure, despite what I objectively know on the subject. I've started watching Season 2, which lacks Lithgow and suffers for that reason. So far it's worth watching, but I think I might tire of it; it's more soap opera than history. Without Claire Foy I'm less likely to watch Season 3. I'd happily recommend Season 1 to anyone for Lithgow's performance alone.

ashbird

I watched 3 episodes of Season 1 of The Crown and thought it an excellent production. Downton Abbey, another excellent production, could only be re-watched an infinite number of times.
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The creators of The Crown reportedly chose Netflix streaming service over the BBC because “working with the Corporation would have involved 'oversight' from the Palace.” [Daily Mail, 10/10/2017]
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Reasonable. A 2015 documentary of King Edward VIII's life, written and narrated by Prince Edward, youngest of 4 children and 3rd son of Queen Elizabeth, presented historical events, as shown by world affairs and personal letters of King Edwards’s at the time, that are close, if not identical, to what was briefly summarized in this Prospero review.
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And excellent review, BTW.

Aurelius512

Here we have, in a single review of the latest hot British TV series, a medley of some of Prospero's pet peeves:
1) The monarchy. It is insufficiently "diverse". In fact, it should be eliminated entirely.
2) Donald Trump. He is bad, and so is "the state of the union", about which Prospero is a recognized authority by virtue of his having seen many American movies and TV shows.
3) Donald Trump. Female staffers in Congress are sexually harassed because he is president.
4) Donald Trump. Like Edward VIII, he "fraternizes with fascism".
5) Donald Trump. He's vain, and male vanity is bad.
6) Eton, which failed to provide the vain Anthony Eden with the "clarity" he claimed it inculcates. Prospero implies that it should be eliminated, along with all the other posh, hidebound British public schools, as they only serve to perpetuate "inequality". For those unfamiliar with the catechism of the Church of Political Correctness, inequality is a cardinal sin, and diversity is a cardinal virtue.
7) Escapism that is insufficiently escapist. For the real thing Prospero recommends Marvel movies, especially the very violent ones.

JKPbody64 in reply to Aurelius512

Four of your seven points reference Donald Trump and yet the review never mentions him by name at all, I would suggest this has to do more your fixation on Trump than anything Prospero writes.

As for point 6, watching the episode in question and reading the review it was clear to me the point being made that Eton (and other such 'Public' schools) should not be the only source of British Prime Ministers and not that those schools should be abolished.

Aurelius512 in reply to JKPbody64

I anticipated this obvious objection. It is the liberal media that has a Trump fixation, and after over a year of training it is not necessary to mention his name in a TV review for their faithful readers to understand the wink-and-nod references to The Evil One. It is precisely this fixation that explains a TV review that is more about current events than about the merits of the program being reviewed.
I think you're wrong about Eton. Prospero would probably prefer its disappearance, because, like the monarchy (and aristocracy), it's a vestige of the British class system that liberal, egalitarian bien pensants deplore. As for the merit of your interpretation, these schools have not been "the only source of British Prime Ministers," but even granting this assumption, I see nothing wrong with such a hypothetical development.

JKPbody64 in reply to Aurelius512

"As for the merit of your interpretation, these schools have not been "the only source of British Prime Ministers," but even granting this assumption, I see nothing wrong with such a hypothetical development."

That is true today but at the time of Anthony Eden it is hard to think of a British Prime Minister who had not been educated at a public school, except Ramsey MacDonald. Attendance at the these schools, at that time, was predicated on social background not merit. Winston Churchill got into Harrow because his father was the son a Duke not because of his academic qualifications.

It is interesting to read of your defense of the British class system and the aristocracy while advocating for the elimination of the Monarchy, you don't see a contradiction there? Personally I see a merit based system as superior; equality of opportunity not diversity for diversity's sake.

" It is the liberal media that has a Trump fixation, and after over a year of training it is not necessary to mention his name in a TV review for their faithful readers to understand the wink-and-nod references to The Evil One."

Not everything written is a reference, veiled or otherwise, to Donald Trump. This a review in a British publication, about a British produced TV show, with very British subject matter perhaps it is just about that, with commentary on modern British society and politics. Again, this seems to be your fixation on Trump not the writers

Aurelius512 in reply to JKPbody64

I didn't suggest eliminating the monarchy. I criticized Prospero for that intimation.
The second paragraph in this review is about the U.S., not Britain. The hooey about "the darkest foreshadowing of all" being "a fraternization with fascism" that opens the next paragraph cannot refer to Britain today. It can only refer to The Evil One. The business about male vanity that "feels familiar", which drags on for two entire paragraphs, cannot refer to Britain today. It can only refer to the comically vain American president. Prospero's lament that "readers turning away from the news to "The Crown" will find less escape from the headlines than they might have wanted" can only refer to headlines about the mess into which Trump and his minions have supposedly plunged the whole world -- according to a year's worth of Economist et al hysteria.

Aurelius512 in reply to JKPbody64

P.S. Wikipedia informs us that of the 54 Prime Ministers to date, 19 were educated at Eton College, 7 at Harrow School, and 6 at Winchester School. All Prime Ministers between 1964 and 1997 were educated at non-fee-paying schools.

JKPbody64 in reply to Aurelius512

...and the last Prime Minister was educated at Eton too, much the current cabinet are ex public school boys too. Give the current state of the Conservative and the British government it is worthy of examination. Suez was a disaster and Brexit has been chaotic so far, so the analogies are not unreasonable.

JKPbody64 in reply to Aurelius512

"a fraternization with fascism" could just as easily refer to the state of politics in Poland, Hungary, Russia, Venezuela or some of the supporters of Nigel Farage.
British political leaders have recently suffered from controversy regarding sexual harassment too.
Again your defensiveness on the subject of Donald Trump and the US seems more a reflection of your mind than that of the article. The whole world does not revolve around Trump and his politics, although perhaps he might enjoy that.

Aurelius512 in reply to JKPbody64

That the previous PM was educated at Eton doesn't change the fact that most were not educated there. Cabinet members are not Prime Ministers. The next two sentences are wholly irrelevant: No one argues against examining the current state of the British government. Your opinion of Suez and Brexit have nothing to do with my comment. There are no analogies to these policies in the series or this review. Suez is described and discussed in the series; it is not an analogue.

Aurelius512 in reply to JKPbody64

You are not a careful reader. That phrase refers to the acts of an individual, not a "state of politics" in a country.
I don't defend Trump; he's not worth defending. I ridicule Prospero. I don't claim that the whole world revolves around Trump and his politics, but The Economist's year-long obsession with attacking him does give that impression. In any case, far more of the world revolves around any U.S. president than around any British prime minister.