The Crown’s Gillian Anderson says she’s ‘slightly fallen in love’ with Margaret Thatcher

The Sex Education actor will play the Tory PM in series four

Gillian Anderson Getty

Gillian Anderson has confessed to ‘falling in love’ with the “absolutely fascinating” Margaret Thatcher.

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The X Files star, who was long-rumoured and now confirmed to be playing Britain’s first female Prime Minister in The Crown, admitted that researching Thatcher’s childhood allowed her to feel compassion for the controversial politician.

“Thatcher was absolutely fascinating,” she said in an interview with The Observer. “Mostly because of her childhood. You could draw such a clear line from how she was raised and what she was exposed to in their religion, and how she was raised in the shop, and how she worked, and their work ethic and their beliefs.

“Just everything that came later stems so entirely from her childhood. But that in and of itself is fascinating, and — I’m not going to use the word forgivable, but one can find compassion.”

Anderson added that she had even “slightly fallen in love” with Thatcher, who proved to be hugely divisive during her time in office. Prime Minister between 1979 and 1990, the ‘Iron Lady’ presided over the Falklands War and the miners strike.

“To a certain degree, it’s very helpful for an actor, at least in my experience, to slightly fall in love with the character you’re playing, regardless of what your opinion might be of them, if it’s a historical character, particularly,” she said. “So I have.”

Olivia Colman in Netflix's The Crown
Olivia Colman in Netflix’s The Crown

While Thatcher will not make her debut in The Crown until series four, Anderson also revealed she has now seen the long-anticipated third season, which sees Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman take over from Claire Foy in the role of Queen Elizabeth.

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The Crown’s third series premieres on Netflix on November 17th