The Crown: The Official Podcast

Episode 7: Moondust

Episode Summary

Host Edith Bowman discusses the seventh episode of the third season of The Netflix series The Crown, with three very special guests.

Episode Notes

It’s 1969 and while the astronauts from Apollo 11 are landing on the moon, Prince Philip ponders what he might have accomplished had circumstances in his life been different. Host Edith Bowman is joined by actor Tobias Menzies and director Jessica Hobbs to discuss the character of Philip and the episode’s themes of loss, faith and mid-life crises. Edith also chats to composer Martin Phipps about writing the music for Season Three.  The Crown: The Official Podcast is produced by Netflix and Somethin’ Else, in association with Left Bank Pictures.

Episode Transcription


P: I didn't know what I was thinking. But I expected them to be giants, Gods. In reality they were just three little men. Pale faced with colds.


Q: Have some sympathy, the very qualities that made them perfect for the job


P: The lack of flair or imagination,


Q: A sense of duty and modesty and reliability,


P: total absence of originality or spontaneity… 


Q: But that's what makes them perfect in a crisis. 


P: And entirely anticlimactic when you meet them in person. I mean imagine they go all that way to the moon, stay healthy, but one trip to London nearly kills them.


Q: It's not their fault. They never wanted to be public figures. And now because of one event, they will be forever.


P: They delivered as astronauts, they  disappointed as human beings.



Welcome to the Crown: The Official Podcast. I'm Edith Bowman and this show follows the third season of the Netflix original series The Crown episode by episode, taking you behind the scenes, speaking with many of the talented people involved, and diving deep into the stories. 



It’s 1969 and while the astronauts from Apollo 11 are landing on the moon, Prince Philip ponders what he might have accomplished had circumstances in his life been different.  With the encouragement of the new Dean of Windsor, Robin Woods, Philip realises that real bravery might not lie in attempting the extraordinary acts, but rather, in asking ourselves the most difficult questions. 


We will cover specific events and scenes that feature in this episode, so if you haven’t watched episode seven yet, please do it now.  Or very soon.



Coming up later, we will hear from composer Martin Phipps about his approach to composing for season three



it was fantastic because it focused me in a way that I hadn't been pushed to be focused on something before and and really not think about the picture at all, not think about the end product, but just think about what I was going to try and say and how we were going to work, how the music was going to be in relationship to these characters. 



We will also hear from director Jess Hobbs.




How do you take something which is essentially about an event that we know succeeded. How do I create jeopardy? It's nearly all on televisions in the 1960s. So they're tiny black and white screens you didn't see very much. And then turn it into a exploration of faith…



But first I spoke with actor Tobias Menzies about taking on the role of Prince Philip.  I asked him if it was easy to find hisPrince Phillip.   



E: Hi, Tobias.

T: Hey Edith. 

E: So great to have you here. And we were just saying there about expectations coming into working on something like the crown. And I guess well tell me what the biggest one of that was maybe because, you know, someone had done it leading up to you taking over 

T: Yeah.  

E: And how you were going to do your Philip? 

T: Yes. 

E: Was that easy to find?


T: No, it wasn't easy to find. I just started by just listening and watching him loads, which was kind of fine, and then your eyes and your ears start to bleed a bit. But there was a, I guess the challenge felt like it was not for it not to be an act of mimicry. 

E: Yeah.  

T: Because, and that's a hard pitch to find because I think if its too like a pastiche, I think It's quite hard to watch for 10 hours. 

E: Yeah,  

T: It'd be irritating I think so, you got to feel sound and look and feel like him, but also then allow the audience then to go through that into the narrative, I guess.


E: Yeah.  

T: But yeah, a bit of this kind of magic of the show is, oh, yeah, they are a bit like them aren’t they, he looks a bit like him there, I was really keen for that to continue. 

Wierdly, I mean I don't know, looking back, maybe I should have been more nervous. I was kind of excited by it.

E: Great  

T: I loved what Matt had done. It was an amazing resource to have these two seasons of incredibly beautiful storytelling and really great actors working on these characters to give you like the most amazing kind of background to your character. So and then we kind of forgot about it I think I do remember the first few days filming. Yeah, there was a bit of nerves knocking around and

E: I can’t imagine what that first day on sets like… 

T: You know, seeing Olivia first day and all her makeup and that amazing silhouette of the hair. 

E: Yeah, absolutely. 

T: And, and that's it kind of helps you a lot I think. It's a bit of magic in the sets. And 

E: Yeah

T: and I remember Ben playing the music a bit. 


E: I think the thing is, well, that when you when we start season three is that we're at a very different time for this family. 

T: Yeah

E: For the monarchy, and Phillip has grown up a bit in terms of, his role is constantly changing. He's still manoeuvring his way around, what's his purpose and all that kind of thing. And we very much get into that in season three as well.

T: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think in a way. I liked that the show quite confidently went Okay, this is a different set of cast. Obviously it was the with the same story. It's the same world. But they didn't we didn't try and you know, he's definitely a more middle aged Philip. There’s no way I can be full of youthful and bouncy like, like Matt, you know, his was so dashing and I definitely just we had to sort of lean into that there's going to be a different thing. I think what Peter was trying to find was writing something different. 

E: Yeah,  

T: for this season. It's heavier, it's less hopeful. It's more weighted down with the kind of responsibilities of family and this institution, it's less, less romantic. I think it's just a bit Kind of, yeah, we're older and it's all a bit harder.


















E: Still that romance now, which I know that you're that you've been a few times that you've, you've gone. We need a little kiss here.

T: Oh really, has someone outted me on that. 

E: We've had a lovely sort of run of people who have been enthusing about I guess As an actor, you want to try things. And, you know, and be brave with the character as well. 

T: Yeah, interesting. That's nice to hear. Yeah, I mean, obviously at the heart of this show is a marriage. And that felt very important to get all the different kind of colours that a marriage is. And it does feel like it's certainly one of the things I loved about watching the first two seasons is the magic of oh look, maybe they are like that at breakfast. And the really domestic kind of them kind of pootling around, and all the different kind of oddities of that. And the more I read, the more they definitely seem to make each other, he makes her laugh. It's a big sort of ingredient in the relationship. He kind of pokes and sort of makes it less ceremonial, less serious. He does sort of like he kind of sends the whole thing up a bit, because he has a sense of proportion, which I imagine is incredibly helpful to her. He's funny. And you know like the, quite a few people are like being quite jazzed by the, you’re a dazzling cabbage or whatever that lines is. 


P: Why do we do this? Week in, week out? Like lemmings? What does it do for you? Honestly?

Q: church? 

P: Hmmm

Q: it’s a chance to take stock, reflect on the past week, and think ahead to the next  

P: it is entirely

Q: and to think of life’s bigger questions

P: Except one doesn’t. One mainly things about what a lot of dreary nonsense the deen is talking and why doesn’t he shut up?

Q: He’s been with us for nearly 20 years

P: That might make him loyal but it does not make him interesting

Q: Sshhh


E: With Episode Seven Moondust it's a really interesting episode specifically for your character. There's so much going on within this for him personally,

T: it’s obviously an episode dedicated to digging into Philip as a character. 

E: Yeah.

T: Peter chose to build that around the moon landings. There's no evidence that he was particularly interested in the moon landings but you know, that's that's Peters kind of imagining. And yeah, and through that explores the possibility that Phillip is going through a midlife crisis, and I guess is a further kind of meditation on Phillips challenge of finding a role within this institution. 

E: Yeah,  

T: you have stuff in season one or two about the difficulties of giving up his career. You know, they lots of people talked about him sort of walking a couple of steps behind his wife what that was for a man of his generation, a kind of alpha male. And this is a another chapter in that narrative. But I, what I like about it is that thing of me, I'm 45 I've also come up against those feelings of what have I done with my life? Have I done enough with it? Looking at the choices you've made, you know, life is such a blur, and you very rarely kind of sit down and make a sort of coherent decision ever. Like, he's trying to make it work. 

E: Yeah, you’re reacting to things. 

T: I'm sure that's true for someone like Phillip privileged though that life is extraordinary though that life is, I'm sure you get to, you know, to your middle age and go, ah, have I, is this good?

E: Yeah. What am I doing with my life?

T:Yeah, and so obviously seeing the extraordinary heroism of the moon landings however irrational This is part of him looks at this and goes, that could have been me. I should have led or I think I could have led a more heroic life. I could have contributed to the sum of human knowledge more.


E: Yeah. Well, there's that great scene that I didn't know whether it was I don't think there's any kind of record of it but where he, in the plane. And he kind of takes control you take control and

T: yes, yes he tries to go Yeah

E: you know, live even for a minute. Yes. So, you know, he's chasing that adrenaline chasing that spot.


P: God isn’t it beautiful. 

PILOT: I’m sure, but we’re currently at the very limits of what this aircraft can do.

P: Perhaps, but look we’ve also lived, just for a minute.


T: And so on that level, I really didn't find it hard to get into that headspace because I think I'm definitely going through that some of that myself. And obviously the challenge acting wise is you have a character who is pretty armoured and doesn't really show, or doesn't intend to tell you what he's feeling. Actually, I think energetically you get a lot of him. 

E: Yeah,  

T: you get atmospherically. It's a burst of him, what's going on? He's quite an emotional person, but it's suppressed. And then in the it's an episode in which a lot of that is revealed. So that's the kind of tension formatively is it's, he doesn't want to let it out, but it's coming out despite him.


E: I get the sense that he's almost kind of rebelling against that to start with when he has the audience with the priests.


11:50P: I'll tell you what I think. I've never heard such a load of pretentious self piteous nonsense. What you lot need to do is to get off your backsides get out into the world and bloody well do something. That is why you are all so lost. I believe that there is an imperative within man, all men to make a mark. Action is what defines us, action not suffering. And all this sitting around thinking, talking. Let me ask you this. Do you think those astronauts up there are catatonic like you lot? Of course not.

E: He kind of instantly rejects it. But then really interested in how we then kind of find some solace and camaraderie and friendship and so many things? I think in that world that he…

T: Faith is a massive theme in the episode. I guess you have sort of science and faith is you know, the extraordinary kind of technological feats of the moon landings alongside something much more ancient. It's definitely an uncomfortable relationship at the start of the episode. And some of that is about his mother, who, you know, suffered from mental illness, then had a life of quite extreme faith. And you get the sense that Philip distanced himself from that, and from his mother's life, wasn't hugely involved, and also disappeared into a whole other world. You know marrying the queen. And then all of that kind of comes back round. And you have to sort of look at that. Yeah, and it's also articulates the beginning of a very important friendship in Phillips life, which is Robin Woods. So that was a long long term relationship and they published various books together and set up saint George's house which is this sort of Centre for sort of intellectual and spiritual regeneration and sharing. And, one of the surprises when I was looking into Philip that I didn't realise that inter-faith and religion was such an important part of his life, to see where some of that started. 

E: Yeah.  

T: And, again, this is an act of fiction. So it may be that faith is being quite consistent in Philip’s life. But yeah, we do it that he's sort of highly resistant to begin with. And then is forced to. Yeah, to turn to the thing that he sort of despises at the top of the episode.


E: Another thing that I find really interesting about this episode is how the Queen almost steps up into the role that Philip normally has, where she senses there's something not quite right about him and kind of, you know, sort of edging him towards things whereas normally he's that role isn't he? He's the supportive supportive one. Yeah. Has he comes down to the fact that that's, that is his role, really?

T: Yeah, I think, Peter in this series is definitely writing someone who is more at ease with his role and his position, the marriages in calmer waters, the kind of drama of the struggles in in seasons one and two have balanced out. And their challenges are from outside. And then yeah, I think you're right in this episode, it sort of, in terms of the sort of drama of it, it's slightly reversed. You know, it’s usually him giving various shades of advice. Some of it helpful. Some of it. Yeah.

E: Don't let Margaret do anything

T: The rest of it kind of rude.


E: He's been the one who’s always tried to kind of push the Crown forward, bringing TV cameras in and, you know, 

T: Or making documentaries. What could possibly go wrong? 

E: I like how we get a little insight as well on the season to him and Anne’s relationship.

T: It's well documented that Anne is the you know, the child is most like Phillip and the one that he gets along most easily with I think, you know, she's a bit of a chip of his block as it were, you know, forthright and sort of like no nonsense and you know, just not sensitive like Charles in and sensitivity is clearly something that Phillip struggles with you know, I think it's partly because he's spent so much of his life having to cover his own sensitivities and vulnerabilities. I think he's allergic to them in other people like he's like, nope, put it away No! And and that's why I think that relationship is so toxic because Charles in a rather amazing way is just it's very it's all out there. 

E: I need to talk about it. 

T: Yeah, I need to talk. I need it to be out and it. And Anne is more like him. He's just like, just go, do. 


Soon director Jess Hobbs will join Tobias and I to dig a bit deeper into epdisode seven, but first I had the opportunity to sit down with composer Martin Phipps.



E: I guess I want to start Martin if it's okay by asking when you come on board with something that already has a presence. And I guess there's already a kind of Canvas in a way. How did you start? And where did you start? What were the conversations at the start?


M: So I was approached very early on in the process they hadn't they were six months off shooting season three, and immediately it's like, so conflicted thing of, wow, I love the series so much. And also, how could I possibly follow on from what's gone on before it was so good? And you know, you're crazy. Why are you changing everything? What's going on here? But I love the series. I think it's just genius. In many ways, I leapt at it. And you know, I was really excited by it. But it was a daunting prospect for sure. What Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson Williams had done was was fantastic. Rupert particularly, I think, had done some some beautiful work, but the conversation was about trying to do something different with the music, use it in a different way. And I think just the work process would change. And that all sounded really exciting. And again, in a way of thinking about scoring something in in a in a different in a not not maybe not a conventional way. Yeah, trying to do something a little different because it is in the end, it's period drama. It's big budget period drama. And Peter Morgan was always like, I do not want a classic period drama score in any way here. And obviously, there's restraints about what you can do in the world of 1960s England, but I think within that we try to we try to at least make the relationship between the music and the action a little bit different. 


E: How do you work then on a daily basis on the show? I guess every day is different.


M: So the process on this series was unlike anything else I've done, 


E: yeah. 


M: And I came on earlier than I'd ever done before. I said I would start when they started filming, I would be available and start working and literally within two or three days Peter Morgan was ringing me up going, Okay, so what's the sound? What's, what's the new thing? What are we doing? What are we doing here? Wow, I haven't seen anything yet. I've just had a couple of conversations with you. The director is off filming. I haven't had any conversations. It was Ben Carron, I hadn't had a conversation with him, you know? What the fuck? And actually, it was fantastic because it focused me in a way that I hadn't been pushed to be focused on something before and and really not think about the picture at all, not think about the end product, but just think about what I was going to try and say and how we were going to work, how the music was going to be in relationship to these characters. And Peter gave me sporadically but but when they came, they were fantastic. These notes, sort of a series of notes on on different characters, and I just got a sort of slightly random set suddenly on Mountbatten. He would say that I've been thinking about Mountbatten, and this is what I think about him and he was he sent me a beautiful series of pictures of Mountbatten when he was in his pomp and his prime and some poems are written about him and sort of weird little, little tiny bits and pieces. Yeah, you know, those kind of things were truly as inspirational as seeing any scene or photographs of people or you know, the actual, or seeing the characters in action. 


E: Yeah. Did you talk about instrumentation at all? In terms of things that you, he wanted, that you wanted that he did or didn’t want.


M: No, no. So he was never that specific. Yeah. And which in a way is for me is is great. Actually, I want to know what he wants to feel. No, not how not what instruments he wants to hear. And that's a real key thing of I want to and he says he just I mean, often he would just say I want to be moved I want to be connected to these characters. But no, he would almost never, I mean, I'd hit upon the sound and he'd go I love that. 


E: It's about emotion. It’s about feeling.


M: yeah, yeah. And it's always about…. I think that's when music is it is at its best is is when it's it gets inside the head of a character, it's not describing what's going on on screen. And it's not. Hopefully the drama is doing that already. Yeah. And that's why I love The Crown so much because the drama is doing that already. Very, it's very seldom that I have to kind of paper over anything. And a lot of drama scoring a lot of music writing to picture is often just making a scene work when it's not quite working. And so then it's about diving in deeper and going into a layer further down, which you might as an audience not even know is there. But when you hear the music, it opens something up and you and you're into the head of a character and that's that's the beautiful moment. That's when I'm really yeah. really works for me


E: That's the clever thing I think as well about the show is the tone that they create, and it surprises you a lot of the time, just from a tiny little piece of dialogue or a piece of music or can just take you off somewhere else and almost kind of let you exhale for a second as well.



M: Yeah, so the first episode, it used to be a very long sequence of this stamp being made and cast and and moulded and then then printed and then then taken in and we had a grand piece of music on it and, and it was all like, oh look we’re The Crown isn't this grand as they were back. Yeah. And we all sat back and looked at it afterwards and it was like, this is just it's not right, it's it's expecting too much of our audience, it's presuming that they already love the show and they're already on board and we've got to draw them in and and be much cleverer than that, and unexpected and, and so, in the end, it's something very simple, very quick sequence and, and the music is very light, just a little bit of sort of horn, this French horn motif that I that gets used right at the very end of, it’s a track that's used right at the end of the episode 10 when she's driving out to the Jubilee.


E: Can we talk a little bit about Episode Seven, Moondust.


M: sure yeah yeah, I read a lot of stuff while they were filming, you know, 10, 15, 20 tracks of material and that episode was quite late it was it was directed by Jess Hobbs and she was in the last block. So it was, so I was quite involved in other stuff actually. Five and six were the first episodes that we did in the process. And seven and 10 were the last two but so Seven I, so basically I gave Jess these tracks and she just she edited to them and put them in and I almost didn't do much to them, you know, which is which is also an amazing thing and and therefore I think it had a kind of organic, it sort of sat in the episode really nicely and it was there from the beginning and and I tried to mess with them a bit and often Jess just went, no, let's just leave them alone, they’re great. 


E: Wow, what do you think in within your mind, you are creating these beautiful pieces out of then in terms of that they they just fitted perfectly

24:06M: Well they were very similar themes, the whole, the whole sort of big broad brushstrokes that Peter was talking about all this time was the big architecture of the series. Is the these Gods and Monsters he would say he would say, think Greek, think Greek tragedy, you know, it's not about small personal feelings, everything is magnified everything is is is can have a global resonance and this pressure is bearing down on all these people. So they're naturally you have this presence in this sort of this big backdrop to our characters. But then you go in very deep and personal with them and I think the combination of those two so the music's almost playing that role at this very big backdrop to these to these stories going on. But actually we have some very very intimate moments when it's and it's a beautiful episode.

E: Yeah. I heard actually that some of them play your music on set. Must be nice for you to hear because then that, in a way that’s influencing the performances from the cast as well…….. 


M: Well it means something's already connecting with the characters and that they're they're feeling

that it's part of the world the right world for them. 

E: Yeah, 


M: yeah. That's a lovely thing. And I think I think having, you know, having music right from the very beginning of the processes is great and helps everyone get on the same page. And, you know, in lots of ways.


E: How is it when there's a, you know, there's a theme, there's a theme tune for the crown. There's an opening. 


M: Yeah, yeah. 


E:How does that kind of? Yeah. How do you navigate around that? How do you work?


M: Well we didn't work with that at all. And that's sort of standalone and does its thing. 


E: Yeah. 


M: Which is about I think it's about recognition. 


E: Yeah. 


M:And, and it's, it's a great theme, and it's really good, but I didn't really work. We've moved away from that kind of sound and that certainly we weren't as quite as grand and, and mega, Hans Mega!


E: But that reflects that that reflects them I think as well in terms of, you know, I think almost kind of for that for those first two seasons. They were still in that, like that kind of almost like accentuated regal ness in a way


M: Yeah. Yeah. That kind of… still in the colonial world of this, of the Empire and and very turbulent times and post war and yeah, yeah, indeed and and now we've moved into the the brown, slightly shabby 70s


E: They’re trying to modernise, they’re trying to…you know….


M: it is Yeah, yeah they're caught between the new world and an old world Yeah, yeah and and definitely we will try and reflect that more in the music I mean we're into the 80s actually in season four and I'd love to get…


E: Get the keyboard out


M: Get some synths in there yeah


E: that I would love to hear synth score for The Crown,


M: Nothing but the synths


E: Martin, thank you so much for your time it's such a treat 


M: a real pleasure. 


E: Congratulations on this beautiful soundscape you've made for this season. 


M: As I say I sit in my small box of a studio all day long. It's great to hear you’re loving it!


E: Look forward to season four


Joining Tobias and I is New Zealand native Jess Hobbs.  Jess directed episode seven and the final episode in season three.



E: I really like it when we have a member of the cast and a director because it almost kind of sparks memories and conversations immediately. Then we're kind of saying, you know, you guys are deep in 4 at the minute so we are taking you back to 3…

J: Yeah.  

E: Which, you know, just take a minute for the cogs to kind of…

J: Yeah. It was a very good time, though. We had a it was a very, it was a very good collaboration. Yeah, I would say.

E: That's a nice way of putting it. 

T: Yeah. I feel incredibly blessed that I got to work with Jess on on seven. Yeah, we just really got along. It was a proper collaboration. We could I could bounce ideas off Jess.

J: Yep. 

T: Some of them better than others. There was one good one.

J: What was the one? 

T: Well, this is the one I remembering was talking about going back upstairs to Princess Alice's room.

J: Oh I did like that idea.

T: I came up with this idea. I said, Maybe we should have this like flash where suddenly it's Philip in the full moon landing gear

E: As an astronaut 

T: So he just suddenly in the doorway looking at his, his mother's as an astronaut


E: Wow

T: not very crown.

E: Dress up I like it

T: I had this like, 

E: Not Darth Vader 

T: Oh I didn’t mean it like Darth Vader. It's not, this is not landing on radio. Help! So that was an idea I threw in and which didn't make it. 

E: and your reaction was Jess? 

J: Well my reaction was I love the idea of where it's coming from. I felt that at that point in the story we we’d shifted into a into a story about faith and less Yeah, the moon landing and and it was it was needed to go to a very personal place at that point in time and I didn't want to distract it.


E: Yeah. Jess can I take you back though to episode seven and kind of how you your decision and your thought process. how you'd approach that episode because there are such strong themes in that particular episode. 

J: I think if you're telling a story that is about the notion of faith and existence and your place in the world, you want to reach people who might be resistant to it. And I think humour and relaxing an audience and kind of inviting them in is really important, I think, entertaining them in a sense in terms of their experience. Plus, I think when you're going on these journeys, it's not just one note serious all the way through, you have these kind of odd things that happen in your life that when you look back can be very funny. And I felt that was really important to explore that from Philips point of view.


T: The scene that I chewed on most and picked at most was the, the astronauts scene.  

J: Yeah.  

T: And we went round. We went round the loop quite a few times on that. It was sort of tonal really…

J: It was

T: about didn't want the astronauts to be because obviously they're portrayed as these Everymen in it, so he sort of in an interesting way kind of takes these heroes and then they become very ordinary and they've got colds. But a part of me was like, also, I do want it to be an extraordinary meeting still. 

J: Yes. 

T: So they they also have to be extraordinary. They can be completely human and ordinary and with colds

J: yes. 

T: But not to sort of diminish them. Yeah. That the finding what that journey of how much I invested in them. 

E: Yeah.  

T: How I’d hoped they would have an answer for me. 

J: Yeah.  

T: And then the disappointment of that. And yeah. 


P: As an adventurer, watching you 3 heroes at work, it was like watching a dream. Which is why I lept at the chance to meet with you, even if it is just for 10 minutes. That I might ask….what your thoughts were? Out there?


Well obvioduly a sense of relief that we executed the mission successfully!

P: of course

A: And we certainly got some amazing views, didn’t we, yes we did!

P: Extraordinary. I think im not talking so much about views in that sense, as, perspectives, observations of, of our place?

A: To be honest there wasn’t much time for that


J: One of the great joys of working with Tobias and Olivia, is when you're all of a certain age, and you're discovering or talking about midlife crisis, you really understand what you're talking about. You're actually in it or been there or you know, so I felt that were there was a lovely shorthand for all of us. But so when you first read that scene with the astronauts, you could read it as, oh was he poking fun at them and he's being he talks about them as just ordinary men with colds, but actually the more we explored it was to do with well, the entire world put their kind of feelings and thoughts and philosophies and need for explanation on these three men who did a certain job. But why should they have to share that side of their experience? they've done their job? I think what he's asking of them, it's really interesting. They block it slightly, right? It's not they, when you could say that they that they don't understand, but I thought that we played it that they did understand what was being asked of them, but they're like, yeah, you know, we've got 10-15 minutes with you. We don't have a relationship that they're our experiences and reading a lot about the astronauts in later life they talked about profoundness of their experience, but how much they felt that people kind of wanted to access or take that from them. 

E: Switch it on now! 

J: Whereas you know, particularly Michael Collins, I remember just the there was an extraordinary recording I was listening to about and we actually did shoot part of this. This didn't make it another idea, which was him in the capsule alone because when you listen to the recording of it. That's one of the NASA recordings. He goes around the dark side of the moon and he's the only person that isn't seeing what's happening. So he's involved in this enormous operation and he's saying on the recording, is the picture good? Does it look okay? Are people getting us? It’s so moving, what his experiences and there's actual footage of him. 

T: The only hero who’s not seeing it.

J: I mean, I'm sure there are other people that weren't, this is probably a middle class perspective. 

T: True

J: However, it felt like it was a global event that he was part of and yet not part of it was parked around the back in a van. Not able to see it.

E: He’s the getaway man. 

34:04J: But it was also it was what was really interesting. When I first came onto this Peter gave me a few scripts to read it was great was saying, you know, what interests you and I really picked this out, my father trained to be a Catholic priest, left in his fifth year of the seminary and I read the script and thought it terrifies me. How do you take something which is essentially about an event that we know succeeded. How do I create jeopardy? It's nearly all on televisions in the 1960s. So they're tiny black and white screens you didn't see very much. And I love going towards things that scare me, and then turn it into a exploration of faith in the greatest sense. Yes, it's religious, but for me, faith is a much more kind of humanistic idea. That's what I wanted to explore. And I think both Tobias and I felt it. So it did have a very personal resonance for me in that way. 

E: That final speech that he gives to that room

J: The detail, yeah, the emotion

E: The timing, and just the yeah.

T: Odd relationship with that scene really, that's what I auditioned with, with the 

E: Oh, wow

T: That scene. So that was you know, however long ago.

E: How different was it from the one you did up to audition in terms of the wording and structure?

T: Um, pre pretty similar, I don't think I think that was kind of dialled in. 

J: Yeah 

T: And didn’t change much. I think it might have gotten longer.

J: That’s very interesting though because I know that one of the things we talked about I think it was Peter was talking about it. I think various people auditioning and some people made it very emotional. That speech and what Tobias did was made it very held. And when it's very held, it's much more emotional as a viewer. 

E: Yeah.  


J: When then when the emotion is spilling out, and I think that is just as a kind of bass note of where you approached it from him. He said, I immediately knew that’s who should play Philip as soon as he saw you do that. And that came through.

T: That’s interesting. Yeah, I mean, that does have fundamental truth. That you when you listen to him and watch him, he really is working very hard not to give anything away emotionally. So yeah, which in a way, you know, psychoanalytically speaks to probably a lot of emotion inside. 

E: Yeah.

T: That always felt like a, absolutely essential ingredient to him is that,

J: yeah 

T: It's in there and he doesn't want it out.

36:25P: There wasn't a specific moment when it started. It's been more of a gradual thing. A drip, drip, drip, of, of doubt. disaffection, disease, discomfort. People around me have noticed my general irritability. Of course that's nothing new. I’m generally a cantankerous sort even I would have to admit, there has been more of it lately. And not to mention almost, jealous fascination with the achievements of these young astronauts, compulsive over-exercising, an inability to find calm or satisfaction or fulfilment. And when you you look at all these symptoms, it doesn't take a genius to tell you. They all suggest I'm slap bang in the middle of a I, I can't even say what kind of crisis.
37:50T: So through the architecture of that episode, he is driven to a point where almost despite himself, he has to go back to this man who he's ridiculed, belittled, been pretty rude to and 

T: It’s also about masculinity I'm mean, someone like Philip and you know a man talk like that I'll that certainly seems to have struck a nerve with male friends of mine. 

J: Yeah.  

T: Oh yeah. 


J: I think the journey really starts with the astronauts scene which is both funny but quite revealing. And A bit sad. And I think

T: it's true a lot a lot hangs on that.

J: Which is why you were right to be so anxious about it. But it I think we spent a lot of time and it's finding that balance between the humour of it, and yet what he's reaching for makes sense for us, we can kind of relate to it. And then he has the conversation with the queen. And she says, well, it's kind of like us really imagine spending your life like that. And that's what starts and thinking and then he goes to visit his mother and that's when the reveal comes to us that the Queen knows from the beginning of the episode that his mother has died, but we don't and it was really interesting because we went back and forth on to whether to have your mother's funeral at the beginning. The episode was so right that we didn't 

T: Yes, yes, that’s right

J: it needed to be a reveal.

39:08P: My mother died recently. She she saw something was amiss. It’s a good word that, amiss. She saw that something was missing in her youngest child, her only son. Faith. How's your faith? she asked me. I'm here to admit to you that I've lost it. And without it what is there……

T: That had to be almost subtextual slightly

J: yeah

T: that he’s reaching for a language he can’t find but he is asking, what’s it all about? 


E: Oh! There’s my stomach gurgling again, sorry!

T: That was really really enjoyable, thank you

J: We should be saying that to you, was that ok? 

E: Oh my god no that was amazing!


I'm Edith Bowman and my special thanks to our guests on this episode, Tobias Menzies, Martin Phipps and Jess Hobbs.


The Crown: The Official Podcast is produced by Netflix and Somethin Else, in association with Left Bank pictures. 



Join us next time when we go behind the scenes of Episode Eight, called Dangling Man,  which focuses on the young royals Charles and Anne and explores how romantic relationships are approached and often managed in the royal household.   



A: Camilla Shand, eh?


C: Yes. You’re seeing her ex, Andrew.


A: Not sure you can call what we’re doing, seeing. Not sure you can call him an ex either


C: Camilla told me, he’s definitely an ex


A: Hmmmm…Just make sure things remain the right way round. Us playing with Camilla and Andrew, not them playing with us?


C: What does that mean? Anne?


E: Subscribe now, wherever you get your podcasts.