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The second instalment of the sixth series of The Crown is set for release on 14 December. 

Seven years on from its initial release, the programme has been a smash hit for Netflix and has seen some of the UK’s greatest acting talent – including the three queens Claire Foy, Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton – take on the challenge of portraying some of the most recognisable people in the world.

Behind the glitzy multimillion-pound production is a vast production team working on the finest of details to capture each decade of the Royal Family precisely.

Martin Childs, a production designer, and Alison Harvey, a set decorator, have worked on all six seasons of the show and produced almost 2,500 sets in that time.

Alison Harvey and Martin Childs, set and production designers on The Crown
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Alison Harvey and Martin Childs, set and production designers on The Crown

The pair say the “luxury of time and money and people” that the Netflix production affords allows the detailed and spectacular sets we see on our screens.

“We did go through the schedule quite quickly,” Harvey said.

“We did have people devoted to certain things like drapes. [I’m] on a job at the moment – we’ve got no people and no money and no time. So we’re very lucky to have those facilities available to us on such a great well-received project.”

The abundance of resources allows Childs and Harvey to capture not just the familiar castles and regal settings – they were excited to capture the royals’ private interiors as well.

“It’s a kind of a slightly imagined film version,” Harvey said.

“We research and research and research until the research runs out,” Childs said.

“I think it might be Peter Morgan who coined this phrase ‘informed imagination’ – and it’s one I like very much because it helps describe what we finish up having to do,” he added.

The first four episodes of the sixth season were released on 16 November and captured the last eight weeks of Princess Diana’s life.

While many of the scenes from the 1997 crash and its aftermath are seared into the public’s imagination, Childs was averse to recreating many of them.

“My consideration [for] all the scenes that led up to [the crash] was not to have any prior knowledge of it, because the audience does. So I didn’t want to load it with 20-20 hindsight.

“People know what happened. People are familiar with the footage so we didn’t really want to recreate much of that.”

Portraying Diana faithfully was also a major consideration for hair and makeup artists Cate Hall and Emilie Yong. It took around 30 hours to transform Elizabeth Debicki into the late princess.

Hair and makeup artists on The Crown Cate Hall (left) and Emilie Yong
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Hair and makeup artists on The Crown Cate Hall (left) and Emilie Yong

“It starts with this very archaic wrapping of their head in clingfilm and sellotape and marking the headline with a sharpie. The wig maker we work with is very, very detailed in terms of hairlines, crowns,” Hall said.

“The hair is all knotted hair by hair, we will go through thousands of different colours to find the four or five colours we’re going to use in a wig. Then once the wig is made, we start cutting.

“Then the wig comes off the head and is set and dried, put back on again, cut, highlighted, roots shaded in. And then the makeup fittings start.”

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and a young Will and Kate in The Crown Pic: Netflix
Image:
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and a young Will and Kate in The Crown Pic: Netflix

Like the production designers, the pair said they “live and die by” getting the details right.

“Otherwise what you get is something that feels sort of generally in the region of [the decade] but not necessarily robust.

“The whole point when you’re recreating period television is trying to create this world that the viewer can watch and really immerse themselves in. The last thing you want to do is bring them out of that.

“So for me, if I’m watching a TV show and the textures are really modern and chemically sophisticated and illuminated, things like that immediately take me out of the show. So it’s those kinds of details.

“One way of saying we’re in the 1960s [is] about the textures and what was available to the people at the time. Glitter was not. We have every foundation colour under the sun now. But in 1960 you were probably dealing with four different shades if you’re lucky. It’s about sophistication that helps you tell the story,” Hall said.

So the actors have undergone their transformations into their characters and the stage is set but something’s missing.

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Alongside a historical research team, the actors spend a significant amount of time preparing with movement coach Polly Bennett to prepare for filming.

“When you meet new actors playing the characters, it becomes about actually trying to throw all of that information [from past seasons] away and starting again.

“The best thing about working with the team this time around was that we’d already done season five, so they kind of lived in their bodies,” she said.

The Crown's movement coach Polly Bennett
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The Crown’s movement coach Polly Bennett

“I think the biggest thing physically that I had to consider was that they had been around being famous. Being famous was a new idea.

“The sort of thing that Diana was experiencing is a very particular physical change in her body. So that was the major preoccupation I had.”

Read more:
Royal book row: Publisher ‘called journalist within one hour’ of publishing story
Four most important moments from latest season of The Crown
The Crown recreates Princess of Wales’s famous catwalk dress in final series

A huge body of research, like the production designers and hair and make-up artists, informs Bennetts’s work.

She describes working with 21-year-old Meg Bellamy who is playing a young Kate Middleton as she attends university with Prince William.

“A lot of our first sessions were just providing the space to go – who is this person? What has she been around? What has she grown up around? What clothes is she regularly wearing? What food does she eat? What are her relationships? Who has she seen growing up?

“We look at footage that we have, we look at photographs, and put it together in the kind of private investigator type way,” Bennett said.

“And suddenly when you start looking at different pictures, you notice little things that Kate does in her life, like she wears a handbag always on the same side of her body and she clutches it. Now, that’s something that then became an inpoint for Meg.

“The idea that they’ve got something very practical, but they’re keeping it close to them and then you can take that feeling into their whole life. Whether or not that’s actually what Kate Middleton is doing, that becomes gold dust as a practical idea for an actor to play.”

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BBC defends ‘misjudged’ Saltburn BAFTA red carpet question to Andrew Scott

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BBC defends 'misjudged' Saltburn BAFTA red carpet question to Andrew Scott

The BBC has apologised for a “misjudged” question to Andrew Scott in an awkward red carpet interview at the BAFTA film awards last week.

During the starry event, which honours the best films of the past year, Scott was questioned about the film Saltburn, and more specifically about fellow Irish star Barry Keoghan’s genitals.

Barry Keoghan - whose dance at the end of Saltburn is a wonder to behold - posing on the red carpet. Pic: Reuters
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Barry Keoghan. Pic: Reuters

After chatting to Scott, 47, about his film All Of Us Strangers, BBC entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson moved onto the popularity of other Irish performers, including Saltburn star Keoghan.

Paterson asked: “Do you know Barry well?”

To which Scott replied: “I know Barry, yeah.”

Paterson then asked Scott: “Can I ask your reaction when you first saw the naked dance scene at the end of Saltburn?”

Deflecting the question Scott replied: “Oh gees, I won’t spoil it for anybody.”

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Not letting it drop, Paterson persisted: “There is a lot of talk about the prosthetics… how well do you know him?” at which point Scott pulled a face and awkwardly walked away.

Paterson then asked: “Too much? Too much?”

The interview led to complaints, some of which expressed concern that the line of questioning was homophobic, due to Scott being a high-profile gay actor.

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in ALL OF US STRANGERS.  Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. .. 2023 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.
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Scott and Paul Mescal in All Of Us Strangers. Pic: Searchlight Pictures

In response, the corporation issued a statement, which read: “Saltburn is a film which has had cultural impact, with Barry Keoghan’s scene at the end gaining a lot of attention in particular – something the actor has addressed himself.

“Our question to Andrew Scott was meant to be a light-hearted reflection of the discussion around the scene and was not intended to cause offence”.

The BBC said Saltburn director Emerald Fennell and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor – whose song Murder on the Dancefloor features in the scene and who performed at the BAFTA ceremony – also faced the same line of questioning.

The statement added: “We do, however, accept that the specific question asked to Andrew Scott was misjudged.

“After speaking with Andrew on the carpet, our reporter acknowledged on air that his questioning may have gone too far and that he was sorry if this was the case.”

Barry Keoghan stars in Emerald Fennell's Saltburn, which explores class, power and sex and is something of a modern take on Brideshead Revisited. Pic: MGM/Amazon Studios
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Keoghan in Saltburn. Pic: MGM/Amazon Studios

All Of Us Strangers received six BAFTA nominations, including outstanding British film, best supporting actor for Paul Mescal, best supporting actress for Claire Foy and best director for Andrew Haigh.

Despite a widely praised lead performance, Scott did not receive a nomination for best actor in a leading role. He did however, present the animated film award on the night alongside co-star Mescal.

Saltburn had five BAFTA nods including outstanding British film, best supporting actor for Jacob Elordi, best supporting actress for Rosamund Pike, and best actor in a leading role for Keoghan.

Both films left empty handed.

Scottish reporter Paterson, 50, first began reporting on The Big Breakfast, before writing for the Guardian and later presenting on Liquid News on BBC Three.

He has covered the BAFTAs, Oscars and Glastonbury Festival multiple times.

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Ellie Goulding confirms split from husband Caspar Jopling

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Ellie Goulding confirms split from husband Caspar Jopling

Ellie Goulding has announced that she has split from her husband Caspar Jopling.

The 37-year-old Starry Eyed singer, and the 32-year-old art dealer tied the knot at a celebrity-packed ceremony five years ago.

Ellie Goulding has revealed she is 30 weeks pregnant with her first child
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Pic: PA

They welcomed a son, Arthur, in 2021.

Posting a statement in an Instagram story, Goulding said she had been left with “no choice” but to publicly announce that they have been separated for “some time”.

The Hertfordshire-born singer wrote: “In light of recent stories, I feel I have been left with no choice but to let you all know that Caspar and I privately separated some time ago.

“We remain the closest of friends and have been successfully co-parenting with our son’s best interests at heart.

“We are committed to protecting our family privacy and thank people in advance for respecting our wishes – we won’t be commenting further.”

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She also shared a story which Jopling had posted on his Instagram account, also confirming their separation.

It read: “Hi people – hope you’re having a good day.

“I feel (sadly) that I need to say something on mine and Ellie’s current relationship… that I hope more than anything will make any final tabloid speculation disappear.

“Ellie and I made the decision to separate some time ago.

“Our immediate family and close friends have known for some time – otherwise we chose to do what we could to keep this private.

“Ellie and I remain the closest of friends, most importantly ‘co-parents’ to the best kiddo in the world, Arthur.

“This is the last I want to say on this – and please ask that you respect mine and Ellie’s privacy. Thanks a lot. Caspar.”

Singer Ellie Goulding marries her finance Caspar Jopling in York Minster
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Pic: PA

Their glamorous wedding ceremony at York Minster in 2019, featured an impressive guest list ranging from pop stars to royalty.

Celebrities including Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, James Blunt, Sienna Miller, Jimmy Carr and artist Tracey Emin were in attendance.

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were also guests along with their mother Sarah, Duchess of York and Eugenie’s husband Jack Brooksbank, who was one of the groomsmen.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom arrive at York Minster for the wedding
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Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom. Pic: PA

File photo dated 31/8/2019 of Princess Beatrice and Mr Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, whose engagement has been announced today, attending the wedding of singer Ellie Goulding to Caspar Jopling. Issue date: Thursday September 26, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Beatrice. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne / PA Wire.
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Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Pic: PA

The ceremony was followed by a lavish reception at Castle Howard, a stately home near Malton, North Yorkshire.

The couple first became an item in early 2017, getting engaged the following year.

Goulding had previously been in relationships with McFly star Dougie Poynter, radio presenter Greg James, DJ Skrillex and actor Jeremy Irvine, and is also rumoured to have dated singer Ed Sheeran.

She has had four chart-topping albums in the UK, including her most recent collection, Higher Than Heaven, released in 2023.

Goulding toured the UK and Europe late last year with songs from the new album.

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Rod Stewart labels Vladimir Putin an ‘a******e’ and urges support for Ukraine ‘right to the end’

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Rod Stewart labels Vladimir Putin an 'a******e' and urges support for Ukraine 'right to the end'

Sir Rod Stewart has lashed out at Vladimir Putin on the eve of the second anniversary of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The music veteran branded the Russian president an “arsehole” in an interview with Sky News on Friday night.

And he said revealed his fears about the consequences of the US “pulling money away from Ukraine” as the conflict enters its third year.

Ukraine-Russia war latest

Sir Rod told Sky News’s Friday Night With Niall Patterson: “You let that arsehole into Ukraine, he’ll get into every NATO country.”

“And we’ll have to join the army,” he added.

“We have to support Ukraine right to the end,” he continued, adding: “Peace in the Middle East as well.”

More on Rod Stewart

Sir Rod appeared on Sky News alongside friend and fellow musician, Jools Holland to discuss their new album, Swing Fever.

“We need joy, we live in very dark times,” he told Sky News.

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‘Music brought us together’

Sir Rod described how the album “brought them together”, while pianist and composer Holland revealed how, when Sir Rod first called him to discuss the project, he believed it was a crank call.

Read more on Sky News:
What we know about Putin and his motives
Putin on invading Poland, the war in Ukraine, American ‘spies’

Sir Rod is no stranger to speaking his mind.

In January last year, he called into Sky News to donate for medical scans after hearing NHS crisis stories.

He said it was ridiculous people had to wait long periods for essential treatment and called for a change in government.

Sir Rod said: “I personally have been a Tory for a long time but I think this government should stand down now and give the Labour Party a go, this is heartbreaking.

“In all my years in this country I’ve never seen it so bad… change the bloody government.”

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