Lesley Manville has stepped into the role previously held by Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter for The Crown season 5, playing Princess Margaret opposite Imelda Staunton's new take on Queen Elizabeth II.


As in previous seasons the Netflix series remains very much an ensemble, with the drama split between The Queen, Dominic West's Charles, Jonathan Pryce's Prince Philip, as well as other members of the Royal household and those surrounding them.

Now, in her first season in the role, Manville has explained why this makes shooting the series a particularly "weird" experience for herself and the rest of the cast.

Manville said: "Of course, the strange thing about the job – and it’s not a negative, but it is a strange thing – is that you have big bursts of working a lot, you really get into it, you’re doing your big episode, and it’s great, and then you might have three weeks off then come back in and be in a scene where there are quite a lot of you and you’re just saying, 'Cheers!' or something."

Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret sat on the sofa.
Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret in The Crown season 5. Netflix

Manville continued: "That’s weird. You have to get your head around that, which was strange for a lot of us because we’re leading actors, and we’re used to doing projects where we go in occasionally like that. But this is such a glorious ensemble piece, and also you’re shooting ten episodes so if you were on all the time, you’d be dead. So, thank God you’re not."

Manville also went on to praise the crew on the show, noting that they are all "at the top of their game".

She said: "I like engaging with the people on the floor, and they’re all so brilliant. That’s the other thing about this job: you’re working with everybody at the top of their game. The props department never missed a trick, and I’m smoking at times. I never had to say, 'Could I have a cigarette?' Every time we’d reset and it would be done, boom, in there, without any time being lost.

"The camera crew have been fantastic too. It’s an inevitable relationship, you and the camera, and it’s just been wonderful. Also there are different directors. There might be an episode with a director where I’m only in one scene and the director is fantastic and you think, 'Oh, I’d really love to do a bit more with you'."

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Manville has previously spoken about working with Timothy Dalton on the series, whose character Peter Townsend returns after previously having been played by Ben Miles in seasons 1 and 2.

She noted that Dalton was "spot-on as Peter Townsend", while also praising the actor as "lovely".

The Crown season 5 will be released on Netflix on Wednesday 9th November 2022, while seasons 1-4 are available now. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.


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