Is royal drama The Crown more like The Sopranos than Victoria?

Director Stephen Daldry sees surprising similarities between the American mobster drama and Netflix's The Crown

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When The Crown arrives on Netflix on Friday in all its regal glory, viewers may feel a sense of déjà vu. A young Queen arrives on the throne and must navigate the difficulties of becoming head of state while dealing with a sulky husband and her troublesome family – isn’t that a bit like ITV’s Victoria?

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However, director Stephen Daldry thinks The Crown has far more in common with another series: The Sopranos. 

Speaking to RadioTimes.com he dismissed parallels with Victoria, insisting: “I’m sure there’s all sorts of comparisons to all sorts of shows.

“We would prefer the comparisons to be made to the Sopranos, but I’m very happy for it to be made to Young Victoria, or old Victoria, and any other Victoria that there is out there.”

His comments came after The Crown’s producer Andrew Eaton rubbished Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria, calling it “soapy” and claiming total confidence in his own show. 

But if you’re wondering what a historical drama about the British royal family has in common with the crime drama about New Jersey-based Italian American mobster Tony Soprano, Daldry has an explanation.

“If you like, it’s a family in crisis,” he said. 

“I don’t mean it narratively, but we always joke – this is a family that are under extreme pressure, and at the very centre of British history. Not that the Sopranos are British history…”

The Crown, starring Claire Foy as Elizabeth II and Matt Smith as the Duke of Edinburgh, opens old wounds including the Abdication Crisis.

Victoria’s King Leopold (Alex Jennings) scales back the German accent to play the embittered Duke of Windsor, the black sheep of the family, and viewers will also see Princess Margaret begin a controversial affair with her father’s divorced Equerry, Peter Townsend. 

So where are the similarities? As in The Sopranos, the drama lies in “watching the family sometimes tear itself apart, sometimes try to reform and survive,” Daldry explained. 

Luckily, The Crown promises to be a lot less bloody – and a lot less sweary – than The Sopranos. 

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The Crown will arrive on Netflix on Friday 4th November