Netflix chosen over BBC 'because they could fund' The Crown


The team behind new Netflix drama The Crown opted to air the series on the streaming service as they were offered more creative freedom and a bigger budget, director Stephen Daldry has revealed.

The new 10-part series follows life inside the royal family and government, beginning with the wedding of the Queen - then Princess Elizabeth - in 1947 and continuing until the Suez crisis of 1956.

Speaking at The Crown's world premiere in Leicester Square, Stephen revealed he had initially wanted the show to be aired on the BBC but the broadcaster could not afford to fund it alone.

The Crown cast
The cast and crew of The Crown on the red carpet in London (Ian West/PA)

He said: "I wanted to do it for the BBC because the BBC are like the royal family, it's part of my life, it's part of my upbringing.

"Netflix was an easier broadcast in the first instance financially because they could fund the whole thing."

The show cost a reported £100 million and features lavish sets, with scenes recreating events in Westminster Abbey filmed at Ely Cathedral.

Former Doctor Who actor Matt Smith plays the young Duke of Edinburgh and Wolf Hall actress Claire Foy stars as Elizabeth whilst American star John Lithgow depicts Winston Churchill.

Matt Smith Claire Foy
Matt Smith and Claire Foy attend The Crown's premiere in London (Joel Ryan/AP)

Speaking on the red carpet, Stephen said: "The problem with the BBC is that they couldn't single fund it, they would have to go to other parties.

"And there might have been issues of - interference is the wrong question - editorial influence."

Director Stephen Daldry alongside Vanessa Kirby who plays Princess Margaret in The Crown (Ian West/PA)
Director Stephen Daldry alongside Vanessa Kirby who plays Princess Margaret in The Crown (Ian West/PA)

The Billy Elliot director revealed Netflix gave the show makers "freedom to tell the story we wanted to tell".

"That was a huge gift to us as story tellers particularly over a subject that could be sensitive and is sensitive to the nation.

"We are telling a story not just about a royal family, we're telling a story about a royal family in which every complication, challenge that family has is discussed in cabinet, and indeed the story of a family is a story of government in post-war Britain.

"Inevitably there will be challenges to us for the choices we've made."

Matt Smith
Matt Smith, who plays Prince Phillip, poses on the red carpet at The Crown's premiere in London (Joel Ryan/AP)

Asked if this meant the BBC would miss out on shows in the future, Stephen said: "I imagine the BBC would have gotten over it."

He added: "We love the BBC, we lose the BBC we're dead. It's like the royal family, it's in our DNA."

Last year Danny Cohen, then BBC director of television, said the broadcaster missed out on The Crown because they "couldn't compete with the money" Netflix offered.

The Crown will be released on Netflix in the UK on November 4.