The Crown creator Peter Morgan believes the convergence of TV and film is set to accelerate and has predicted that drama series’ budgets could swell to many hundreds of millions of pounds.
Speaking at a Bafta preview screening alongside director Stephen Daldry and executive producer Suzanne Mackie of Left Bank Pictures, Morgan said he expects significant financial advances over the next decade.
“Think back 10 years to where we were in terms of broadcasters and the way we consumed programmes. If you look 10 years ahead [from now], I think we’ll be talking about TV shows being made for £300 million to £500 million.
“I think the Bonds, the Star Wars, will all have TV versions of themselves. That’s not to say the theatrical experience is dead, but I do think the appetite for storytelling [is growing].”
No expense was spared for Left Bank and Sony Pictures Television’s £100m 20-parter. Stephen Daldry – one of the series’ roster of directors – described a train scene in episode two that cost about £200,000.
“It’s an expensive show, no question about it,” he said.
Daldry also revealed a plan to spend heavily on a season two episode in which Jackie Kennedy arrives in Air Force One to meet the Queen for the first time.
“We can’t find another way of showing the expanse and scale of Air Force One,” he said. “Just the feeling of what that plane was in comparison to Britain at the time. Peter and I are vigorously hanging on to the idea that we have to build Air Force One.”
The trio spoke extensively of the carte blanche provided by Netflix for the series, which debuts on the streaming service on 4 November.
Morgan, who penned the Helen Mirren-starring film The Queen, said: “I’d written similar [things] about this woman before and her court and her prime ministers and there was something about Netflix that made it feel modern and progressive.
“That galvanized me and my storytelling and made me excited to go back to this material because…I felt somehow that even though I was writing about something in the past, it was still at some level on the cutting edge of where we were going.”
Daldry mused that the best part of working with Netflix was that “they said ‘yes’ and then got out of the way.”
“It’s such an unusual experience for the creators of the show – the people that are paying for it – to say ‘yes’ and go. No executives going ‘I don’t know about that. Should she be wearing blue?’”
When asked whether he was at work on forthcoming series, Morgan – who started writing the second series as the first was being shot – said he needed “to cope with the idea of living and writing much more of it.”
“I was polishing episodes being shot, looking at rushes of certain episodes being shot, and had to write series two, and I got pretty low during that. I was sort of sunken-eyed and it was tough. The thought of doing that again…”