Gillian Anderson promises we’ll “see another side of Thatcher” in The Crown

The actress says her portrayal of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is "not a one-dimensional portrait".

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown season 4

By: Adam Tanswell

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Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana are two iconic additions to The Crown in season four of the royal drama, which launches on Netflix in November. And in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, Gillian Anderson has revealed that fans will be surprised to see a sensitive side to the Iron Lady in the upcoming episodes.

“We certainly see another side of Thatcher that has more of an emotional life than perhaps has been seen before,” Anderson explained. “For instance, in terms of the episodes where her son goes missing. That is grounded, well-founded and well-documented emotion that she was experiencing at that time, so it doesn’t feel like it’s out of order in a way. It’s a whole portrait. It’s not a one-dimensional portrait.”

Don’t expect to see any contentious squabbles or heated arguments between the Prime Minister and the Queen, played by Olivia Colman in the show, either.

“Fiery scenes?” Anderson mused. “There are a few audiences where they push each other’s buttons. They certainly don’t raise their voices, but they definitely push each other’s buttons.”

When it comes to tackling the iconic role, the Sex Education star reveals that the distinctive voice of the British Prime Minister was more important than the costumes, the hair and the handbag.

“First and foremost, finding her voice seemed to be the first physical way in,” the actress admitted. “And once feeling comfortable there, the other elements of it end up feeling like cherries on top. You can have all of the physical accoutrements that you want for Thatcher, but if you don’t have the voice then it’s not going to fly.”

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown series 4
Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown series 4 (Netflix)
Netflix

“When one feels comfortable with the voice, some of the other elements of it wouldn’t necessarily have to be that important,” she continued. “But the whole thing together certainly took a lot of people a lot of effort to put together. At the very least, her silhouette feels very accurate.”

The former X Files star has been in a relationship with The Crown creator Peter Morgan for years, but there was limited coaxing from the award-winning writer when the role of Margaret Thatcher was offered her way.

“I didn’t have any reservations,” Anderson revealed. “She’s such a complex and challenging character that it seemed like a no-brainer to say yes, regardless of my own opinions or thoughts or preconceptions, or even fear levels. It didn’t take a lot of persuading.”

For fans hoping for more Thatcher in the future, this is a one-season deal for Gillian Anderson, who joins the cast alongside Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.

When quizzed about a potential return to the role in later seasons, especially in light of the reappearance of John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in season three of The Crown, Anderson quipped, “He returned on his deathbed. I don’t think they’d use that card again. This is the only season [for me].”

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The Crown season four will be released on Sunday 15th November. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, visit our TV Guide, or find out about upcoming new TV shows 2020.