Netflix is finalising a deal with Sony Pictures Television to commission a 20 episode drama series about Queen Elizabeth II.
The series, titled The Crown, would span more than 60 years from Elizabeth’s coronation through to the present day. The deal, first reported by the Daily Mail, is still being hammered out and has been described as being “similar” to the deal between the streaming service and MRC for House Of Cards and would see the 20 episodes spread across two 10 episode seasons.
The “epic” drama is being written by Peter Morgan, whose previous credits include The Queen and Frost/Nixon. It is understood that SPT’s UK production company Left Bank Pictures, whose current projects include Strike Back and Wallander, would produce The Crown, with Leftbank’s CEO Andy Harries on board to executive produce. Stephen Daldry is attached to direct.
According to the Daily Mail, the series would require a very large cast and would see at least three actresses playing the role of HM The Queen. Given the “epic” nature of the project, which was reportedly pitched to both the BBC and ITV before Netflix emerged as the preferred broadcast partner, the budget is expected to be set at £100 million at the very least, though the figure could well be higher.
If, as expected, Sony Pictures Television and Netflix comes to terms and the project gets the official green-light, it would be the first time the streaming service has commissioned a UK based production company (Left Bank Pictures) to produce one of their original drama series. It will likely be the first of many such UK commissions as Netflix’s main competitor, Amazon, recently indicated to indies that they would soon be commissioning UK originals. The deal would also make The Crown Netflix’s most expensive series, eclipsing the $100 million (around £60 million)/two-season deal they inked with Media Rights Capital in March 2011 for the Kevin Spacey fronted House of Cards.