The wait for the fifth series of The Crown is nearly over, with ten new episodes dropping on Netflix on Wednesday 9 November. Peter Morgan’s royal drama about Britain’s most famous family has been one of the most talked about programmes of late, particularly with the latest season airing two months after the Queen’s death.
Spanning the ‘90s, Charles and Diana’s marriage breakdown takes centre stage. Their split follows a tumultuous period in their relationship and the show looks at the late Princess of Wales’ controversial Panorama interview and her memoir, along with Charles and Camilla’s affair, including their infamous ‘Tampongate’ conversation.
The first reviews of season five are now in - and it's safe to say the critics are pretty divided. Here's what they had to say...
‘Elizabeth’s the absolute star’
Carol Midgley in The Times gave the series four stars out of five. She has high praise for Elizabeth Debicki, the show’s 'absolute star' who perfected Diana’s mannerisms, and Lesley Manville, a 'tour de force' as Princess Margaret.
‘Lavishly OTT royal soap… Diana would love it’
Royal photographer Ken Lennox, who knew Diana, wrote in The Metro that he was moved to tears by the series, which he also gave four stars out of five. 'Diana would have kicked off her shoes, jumped on the sofa and loved every minute of this lavishly OTT royal soap. It’s like one big Windsor Coronation Street, with Debicki as the shining star,' he wrote. But he pointed out that there are dull and far-fetched scenes and inaccuracies.
'The royals remain as relevant as ever'
In The Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh gave the new season four out of five stars, too, saying 'Does it matter that some of this is pure speculation [...] Nope. I’d say the thing about The Crown isn’t what it invents, it’s that it conveys an awful lot of what actually happened.'
The Telegraph’sAnita Singh said that this 'superior costume drama' is 'edging towards trashy telenovela' with this season’s storylines - giving it two our of five stars. 'Peter Morgan’s Netflix drama began as a love letter to the late Queen. These days he’s wielding his poison pen,' she wrote, adding, 'It has never been more clear that the writer cares nothing for the feelings of the real people he is portraying.' She is scathing about the cast, saying Dominic 'brings a slight air of sleaze' while Elizabeth 'lacks Diana’s luminosity'.
‘Bitty and boring’
The Guardian’s Jack Seale is also unimpressed with the fifth series, calling it 'irrelevant' and dishing out two stars out of five. 'It’s time for this bitty, boring show to end forever,' he wrote. 'Its cast is cartoonish, the plot is packed with dull speeches and multiple episodes could have been binned entirely.'
‘Its weakest yet’
Variety's Daniel D’Addario said that the show’s fifth series 'is its weakest outing yet', describing it 'generally scattered and unfocused'. Despite this, he praised Elizabeth’s acting as 'strong' unlike Dominic, who is 'simply miscast' and Imelda, who 'recedes' from her character.