TV Highlights: The Crown and Blue Planet II

The Crown, streaming on Netflix from Friday

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 30th November 2017, 2:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:11 am
Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown.
Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown.

Series one of The Crown- which focused on a young Queen Elizabeth II learning how to rule - was the runaway success of 2017, winning two Golden Globes.

The second instalment is set in the decade beginning in the mid-1950s and is expected to offer just as sumptuous viewing.

Although this time around, Matt Smith says, we learn more about the other individuals in the show.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Coasts are explored in Blue Planet II.

There is a huge focus on Prince Philip and how he is forced to confront his own insecurities with his role, as his 10th wedding anniversary looms.

Meanwhile, the show’s creator and writer, Peter Morgan, vividly shows what he perceives to be tensions between the couple, as their marriage is hit by turbulent times.

But Matt isn’t worried about portraying Philip in a potentially negative light.

“I think what’s good about this show is that Peter Morgan is tough on the characters, and they can be really ugly,” he says.

Coasts are explored in Blue Planet II.

Meanwhile viewers will see Elizabeth go on quite the journey this series, as she begins to understand that the role of the monarchy in Britain has changed.

The show, which starts at the height of the Suez Crisis, and ends with the resignation of Harold Macmillan amid the Profumo scandal, is undeniably set against a period of huge social change.

Blue Planet II, Sunday, BBC One, 8pm

At the coast, two worlds collide. Coasts is the story of how our Blue Planet’s wildlife survives in this ever-changing world. It’s a roller-coaster ride of heart-stopping action and epic drama, with characters from the beautiful to bizarre.

Sixty-kilogram tuna are far too fast for sea lions to catch, but the sea lions herd their prey as a team. Trapped in the shallows, the fish are easy pickings.

Land crabs leap from rock to rock, desperately avoiding the water. Moray eels launch themselves from rock pools to attack. They, like octopuses, will crawl across dry rock in search of prey.

After a 60-mile return flight, a puffin returns with one precious beak-full of food. But now returning puffins must fight dramatic duels with fast and aerobatic skuas to deliver the food to their pufflings.

In the Pacific, the bizarre Leaping Blenny lives above the tideline in miniature caves. A male tries to attract a mate - but waves are a constant hindrance. These are fish that hate water! King penguins must brave the biggest wall of blubber on the planet - thousands of gigantic elephant seals - and endure a month with no food, while they moult.