The Crown season 3: The ‘agonising’ rule-breaking decision over Churchill’s return

In the latest series of The Crown there’s an unexpected return for a character and it was pretty much unexpected even for writer Peter Morgan, who has detailed why Winston Churchill was brought back even though he was no longer Prime Minister.

The third series of The Crown features an ultra-brief glimpse of John Lithgow as Winston, a role which earned him a Golden Globe nomination in 2017.

The twice Oscar-nominated was brought back for a scene, despite Churchill no longer occupying Number 10.

This decision wasn’t taken lightly by show runner Peter Morgan, for a couple of very good reasons, not least because it would break one of the show’s golden rules.

In an interview on The Crown’s official podcast, Morgan explained why he brought Churchill – and Lithgow – back for a moment.

The Crown season 3: Winston Churchill actor is the only returning star

“We really agonised about that, because to bring John Lithgow over and to hire him just to do one scene, there was a lot of hand-wringing about that.

“And we have this strict rule that the minute a prime minister is out of office you don’t see them again.”

What Morgan revealed is that the scene is more about the Queen than Churchill for what it exposes.

For a character who often doesn’t betray too much emotion, the interaction drew back the curtain a little on her feelings.

“The reason why ultimately we decided to go back to having Churchill for a scene is because it felt like another bit of vulnerability for her [Queen Elizabeth II], you know.

“He was the last connection with her father and also he was her first prime minister.”

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However, the Queen has grown in stature at this point in time, adding a poignancy to their time together.

“She’d so relied on him. But now, of course, by this point in her life and her reign, she’s confident. She’s had three or four prime ministers by now.”


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