The thought of having to wait a decade for the Netflix take on the most staggering spectacle of our time – Prince Andrew’s interview – is torture
Does anyone else wish The Crown would get a bloody move on? Because, sure, despite the new intake of actors, the third season of The Crown is exactly the same as the previous two. It’s slow and staid and sumptuous, and largely about a very rich woman who basically has a very nice time without any sort of incident most of the time. It’s good and impressive and all, but there isn’t exactly a lot of high drama.
I can’t speak for everyone but the reason I keep watching is because The Crown is, to all intents and purposes, Better Call Saul With Corgis. The drama isn’t in what we see onscreen, but what we all know will definitely happen later. There will be death. Divorce. Windsor Castle will burn down. Prince Charles will get married to Princess Diana, but declare his wish that he was another woman’s tampon. Prince Harry will dress up like a Nazi. And Prince Andrew will deny having sex with a minor at the behest of the world’s most notorious billionaire paedophile shortly after having a pizza in Woking.
This last one has prompted the biggest crisis the monarchy has had to face for over two decades, and there’s a real sense that the whole thing will end in total disaster if it isn’t handled with extreme care. Everything is going wrong, and we still cannot rule out the possibility that The Crown will end with Queen Elizabeth undertaking the royal equivalent of opening a Cinnabon in Nebraska. That’s dramatic tension, not countless scenes of Prince Philip demonstrating an appropriate level of excitement about the moon landing.
To watch the Prince Andrew Newsnight interview on Saturday night followed by The Crown on Sunday morning was to watch the difference between night and day. The former was extraordinary; an extended moment of clownish, life-changing stupidity wrapped around a kernel of true nastiness. Prince Andrew has been accused of doing genuinely awful things that reek of consequence-free privilege. The way in which he blithely slow-blinked his way into catastrophe during the interview seems to suggest that he still doesn’t understand the scale of what has been levelled at him, and that is absolutely damning for his family.
And then came The Crown, a departure lounge chocolate box of a show that – like its subject – chooses to ride a series of decades-long ripples with relative placidity rather than plunge straight into the ravine on the horizon. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because there’s plenty to admire about a show as fastidiously gusseted as this. Also, and make no mistake, short of Netflix drowning in debt and disappearing, all this stuff is coming. But at the current rate of production, it won’t be coming for another decade. It’s torture.
Like I said, I’m desperate for The Crown to address this stuff now. It wouldn’t take a lot. You could slap Olivia Colman in a white wig, draw some lines on her face and film the whole thing on an iPhone for all I care. Hire some moustachioed silent movie villain to play Prince Andrew, reenact the Newsnight interview in an Asda car park and cut to a scene where Queen Elizabeth decides that the monarchy is more trouble than it’s worth and abolishes the entire setup without a second thought. That’s where this is going anyway, right? That’s the logical endpoint to all this, the Cinnabon moment we can all see coming. We might as well skip a few chapters and dive straight in.