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The Crown season 4: Headier than ever

The Crown season 4: Headier than ever
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The season four starts in 1979 with Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher assuming office as the first female Prime Minister of Britain, and concludes with the end of her tenure in 1990.

Season four of The Crown starts off with a couple of advantages. By now, the series has garnered a formidable fan base, so wide reception is no longer a challenge. More importantly, the story enters what must be the most appealing phase in modern English history. This is the season where Diana Spencer enters the saga, and Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister towers over the United Kingdom political scene.

The season four starts in 1979 with Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher assuming office as the first female Prime Minister of Britain, and concludes with the end of her tenure in 1990.

The Thatcher era in UK politics coincides with an eventful run in the private space of the royal family, as Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) gets married to Diana, despite being openly in love with the very-much-married Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell) and despite everyone including the Queen Mother favouring his match with Diana’s elder sister Sarah.

Diana and Charles’ marriage was dubbed a fairytale affair by the English press when it happened, and it soured from the word go — that much is history. The show gives us an extreme close-up of how and where things keep going wrong quietly all along.

Creator Peter Morgan’s storytelling has, over the seasons, been about dissecting history with nuances, and with the right dose of fiction. Season four maintains the tone as the narrative captures the eventful eighties. Beyond Charles and Diana’s tumultuous marriage — highlighted by the royal trip to Australia — the season also amply focusses on the other Royals (Helena Bonham Carter is notable despite minimal footage as the Queen’s younger sister Margaret).

Quite obviously owing to the slice of English history it captures, and unlike the past three seasons, the 10 episodes of season four are not entirely about Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth II. The season leaves you on a dramatic high, whetting your appetite for all that Peter Morgan and company may serve in the fifth round.

Visually lavish and blending exquisite tech-specs with high drama and performances that can only be described as outstanding, the fourth season of The Crown underlines the fact that here is a show that just keeps getting headier with age.

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