Matt Smith cast as Prince Philip alongside Claire Foy and John Lithgow in Netflix drama The Crown

The Doctor Who star will feature in the new 10-part series based on the Queen's first years as Britain's monarch

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If you were wondering why we still haven’t seen Matt Smith in any of the trailers for Terminator: Genisys it looks like we have the answer – he’s been too busy lurking in the gardens of Buckingham Palace doing some character research.

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Yep, Smith is following in the footsteps of fellow former Doctor David Tennant and joining a Netflix original series, but rather than a purple-skinned fella he’ll be taking on the role of someone with blue blood – the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip himself in upcoming royal drama The Crown.

Based on Peter Morgan’s play The Audience (which starred Helen Mirren for its first run), The Crown follows the Queen of England’s interactions with various postwar Prime Ministers over her life, with the first 10-episode series focusing on her coronation and early relationship with Winston Churchill. If renewed, the series will go on to explore subsequent decades in the monarch’s life.

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Morgan is returning to adapt his play with its original director Stephen Daldry, and other key cast apart from Smith include 3rd Rock from the Sun’s John Lithgow as Churchill and Wolf Hall’s Claire Foy as the Queen, with the latter one of RadioTimes.com readers’ top choices for the role in a poll conducted last year

When announcing the casting, Netflix described the series as “the inside story of two of the most famous addresses in the world – Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street – and the intrigues, love lives and machinations behind the great events that shaped the second half of the 20th century”.

It all sounds very exciting, and considering the reported $100m budget for the first series we can hope it’ll be a suitably epic look at the Queen’s life. That is, unless the large budget is just because Smith and Foy have gone very Method about their royal salaries…

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The Crown will be available on Netflix in 2016