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The Crown: Gillian Anderson ‘refuses’ to return as Margaret Thatcher in final season, forcing producers to ‘rewrite script’

The acclaimed actress was considered a ‘huge asset’ to the popular historical drama series on Netflix

The Crown: Gillian Anderson ‘refuses’ to return as Margaret Thatcher in final season, forcing producers to ‘rewrite script’
Gillian Anderson played Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of The Crown
  • Reema Gowalla

Last Updated: 03.11 PM, Apr 09, 2023

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If you too are a fan of Netflix’s most talked-about historical drama series The Crown that chronicles the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, it’s highly unlikely that you wouldn’t remember acclaimed actress Gillian Anderson, who played the roaring ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of the award-winning series. The Sex Education star, who was honoured with an Emmy Award for her remarkable portrayal of the former British Prime Minister, is reportedly ‘forcing the producers to rewrite the script’, if she were to reprise her role for the sixth and final season.


Starring Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West and Jonathan Pryce, the latest season of creator Peter Morgan’s popular period drama series was based on the happenings of the 1990s - covering the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’ in 1992 and the fire that severely damaged Windsor Castle, as well as the fallout of Princess Diana and King Charles’ marriage. The final season is likely to continue from this point (the late 1990s) until the early 2000s. If the rumours are to be believed, Season 6 will cover Princess Diana’s death in 1997, Tony Blair’s years in power and his professional relationship with the Queen.

Cut to Gillian, she was expected to return to series for her role, but the chances are looking rather slim, apparently due to ‘scheduling issues’. 

A source told a leading publication in the UK that Gillian’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher was met with global critical acclaim and she was a huge asset to The Crown. “It had been hoped she would be able to make an appearance in scenes around the golden wedding, but sadly that has not been the case due to scheduling issues,” said the insider, adding, “The decision was another blow for producers, and it meant altering scripts, with claims that the original plan was for Gillian’s character to attend a dinner with the Queen and Prince Philip, but now the action will shift to another dinner, where the Iron Lady was not present.” 

However, a Netflix spokesperson told that Gillian was “never intended to return as Margaret Thatcher”.

Responding to criticism of The Crown in the past, Gillian has previously said, “It’s a drama. There’s a lot of researchers involved and a lot of people checking and double-checking and triple-checking. There’s a lot that has not been written about that could be written about. And if you knew the difference between them, you’d see there is a great deal of kindness and restraint.”