Netflix plans original UK drama about the Queen

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Queen Elizabeth IIImage source, PA
Image caption,
The Queen has already inspired an award-winning film and play by the same writer, Peter Morgan

Online subscription service Netflix is set to order its first original British drama The Crown, a £100m series inspired by the life of the Queen.

Peter Morgan, who wrote 2006 film The Queen and recent stage play The Audience, will write the script with director Stephen Daldry also involved.

Dame Helen Mirren is not currently attached to star in the series.

Netflix is already home to successful US dramas such as House of Cards, which helped launch the service in the UK.

Original commissions like the Kevin Spacey political drama and Orange is the New Black have been credited with changing the face of television viewing habits - in part by delivering each full season online in one go.

Left Bank Pictures, owned by Sony Pictures Television, will produce The Crown and is understood to be close to completing their deal with Netflix.

Both the BBC and ITV had also expressed interest in the show, which will chart Queen Elizabeth II's reign from the moment she succeeded her father George VI, at the age of 26, to the present day.

It is understood the script will focus as much on the changing political landscape as the Queen herself, in a similar way to last year's West End production of The Audience, which followed her meetings with various Prime Ministers.

Image source, Johan Persson
Image caption,
Dame Helen Mirren returned to the role last year in The Audience

It saw Dame Helen crowned best actress at the 2013 Laurence Olivier Awards, having previously won an Oscar, a Bafta and a Golden Globe for her performance in the film The Queen.

However, insiders have suggested she will not be involved in The Crown.

'Longer story arc'

Morgan also wrote Frost/Nixon for the stage and adapted it for the big screen and The Damned United while Daldry is known for The Reader, The Hours and Billy Elliott.

The Crown is set to be 20 episodes in length, with reports Netflix has committed a budget of at least £5m per episode.

"What our members love watching most and what we have focused on with our own series are highly-serialised stories," Netflix's spokesman for Europe, Joris Evers told the BBC last month.

"We like the kind of series that have a longer story arc where, over multiple episodes and multiple seasons, you follow a storyline as opposed to a procedural show... where somebody gets killed in the first 10 minutes and within that hour you find out who it was and they get locked up."

The internet video streaming firm revealed it had added 2.25 million new subscribers during the first quarter of 2014, bringing its total global membership to 48 million.

This week it also unveiled plans to expand to a further six European countries before the end of the year.