‘She nearly fell out of the Land Rover’: Olivia Colman reveals which Margaret Thatcher scene didn’t make The Crown’s final cut

Olivia Colman admits that she had a ball going head-to-head with Gillian Anderson as Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher in The Crown season 4.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 14 November 2020 - 12.56pm

Season 4 of Netflix's royal drama The Crown takes the royal saga from 1979 to 1990, chronicling Margaret Thatcher’s years in power as Prime Minister and the early years of Prince Charles and Diana’s romance.

Across 10 episodes the Netflix series covers significant deaths in the royal family, the UK going to war and incredible true stories such as the time an intruder, Michael Fagan, scaled the palace wall and entered the Queen’s bedroom.

However, one scene that didn’t make the final cut involved Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman.

The duo have an incredible chemistry on screen as Queen Elizabeth and the first female Prime Minister struggle to gel

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“It’s powerful woman against powerful woman,” explains Colman. “So much in common, but slowly, slowly, at least in our story – they end up absolutely hating each other. And that’s so much fun to play for Gillian and me. We had a ball."

Episode 2, The Balmoral Test, follows Margaret Thatcher’s ill-fated attempts to bond with the Royal Family at their home in Scotland.

“I love the episode at Balmoral because that’s where the Queen is most at home and it was an awful lot of fun doing the scenes where Gillian turns up in the wrong clothes in the middle of fields,” said Colman.

“And [Gillian] nearly fell out of the Land Rover. Did that make it into the final edit? It didn’t? That’s a shame, it was really fun.”

Olivia Colman in The Crown season 4 Netflix

The Crown’s writer Peter Morgan admitted that he campaigned for the Thatcher blooper to make the final cut, but was eventually persuaded to remove it by director Paul Whittington.

“[That scene] was a subject of much discussion. And in the end director Paul Whittington had his way. I said, ‘oh go on, go on, go on’. But Paul said it was too funny.”

Morgan said that when writing the dynamic between Thatcher and the Queen, he tried to tap into how the royal family use protocol for intimidation and power.

“You never know whether to bow, courtesy or doff you cap.

"You are paralysed all the time,” he said.

“[Thatcher] went with her husband and she was a fish out of water.

"You always imagine Thatcher in control and in command, in any situation, but she was trapped between thinking it was all a waste of time and being deeply respectful, unbelievably deferential.

"It’s an interesting muscle that – to be trapped somewhere between contempt and deference all the time. I wanted to show how she was really wrong-footed."

Season 4 of The Crown is now available to watch on Netflix.

Watch The Crown seasons 1-3 on Netflix.