The Crown bosses 'forced to rewrite script as Gillian Anderson fails to return'

The Crown producers have been ‘forced to rewrite their scripts’ after claims Gillian Anderson ‘refused’ to reprise her role as Margaret Thatcher for the sixth and final season.

The latest instalment of the hit period drama was set in the 1990s, covering the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’ in 1992 and the fire severely damaging Windsor Castle, as well as the fallout of Princess Diana and King Charles’ marriage.

The series also saw Elizabeth Debicki star as Princess Diana at tumultuous periods of her life, including the 1995 interview with Martin Bashir and her divorce, while Imelda Staunton took over from Olivia Coleman as the late Queen.

The final outing of the hit period drama is thought to pick up from the late 1990s until the early 2000s, with rumours surrounding season six covering Princess Diana’s death in 1997, Tony Blair’s years in power, as well as his professional relationship with the Queen.

Sex Education star Gillian played the former Prime Minister in season four of The Crown, which won her an Emmy award for outstanding supporting actress.

However, according to reports, she will not be returning for the role, due to ‘scheduling issues’.

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A source said: ‘Gillian’s portrayal of Thatcher was met with global critical acclaim and she was a huge asset to The Crown.

‘It had been hoped she would be able to make an appearance in scenes around the golden wedding but sadly that has not been the case due to scheduling issues.’ 

The insider added to The Sun that the decision was ‘another blow for producers’ and meant altering scripts, with claims that the original plan was for Gillian’s Thatcher to attend a dinner with the Queen and Prince Philip, and instead, the publication reports that the action will shift to another dinner, where the Iron Lady was not present.

However, when approached for comment, a Netflix spokesperson told ‘Gillian Anderson was never intended to return as Margaret Thatcher’.

Gillian has previously fiercely defended The Crown over backlash, against claims it caused hurt to the monarchy, as she insisted the writers exercised ‘kindness and restraint’.

‘It’s a drama. There’s a lot of researchers involved and a lot of people checking and double-checking and triple-checking,’ she said.

‘There’s a lot that has not been written about that could be written about.

‘And if you knew the difference in those, you’d see there is a great deal of kindness and restraint.’

She added to Total Film that ‘at the end of the day,’ they had been ‘incredibly compassionate and well-rounded takes on human beings’.

‘What you’re left with is properly, maturely drawn, complex characters.’

Since premiering back in 2016, the Netflix drama has told the story of the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, with the sixth and final season set to recreate historical moments like the death of Princess Diana.

Recent reports have suggested that the upcoming series will see Prince Harry’s infamous Nazi uniform scandal, while the latest instalment saw the likes of ‘tampon-gate’ and Fergie’s infamous ‘toe-sucking’ image.

The Crown is available to watch on Netflix.

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