When Peter Morgan came up with the idea of creating a series telling the story of the reign of Elizabeth II and the British royal family, he knew it was an ambitious project. But then he did not know that The Crown would end up becoming the most expensive series in history - 130 million euros for its second season in 2017 - taking the title away from the last season of Game of Thrones.
We still don't know, however, what Netflix plans to spend on the fourth season of this hit series, part of which will be shot in Spain, and especially on the Costa del Sol. What we do know is that Malaga city has been selected as the location for the production's headquarters during the filming in Spain.
The Crown now tops the increasingly prestigious list of international series that have chosen southern Spain as a filming location. This year Spanish productions such as Toy Boy, Malaka and Brigada Costa del Sol were all filmed in Malaga province, in addition to international titles Paradise and Warrior Nun.
The Balearic-based production company Palma Pictures, which is managing The Crown's stay in Spain, told SUR that it has been preparing for filming in Malaga and other Andalusian locations for several months.
Filming in this area is scheduled to start after the summer, although the company has already moved into its new office in the city.
This will be the second Netflix production to be filmed in the province, after it wound up its shooting of the first season of Warrior Nun, an adaptation of the comic book of the same name, in early July. The crew spent four months filming in Marbella, Rincón de la Victoria, Torre del Mar, Alhaurín de la Torre, Antequera, Ronda and Malaga, among other locations.
This is not the first time that the British-American series The Crown has been filmed in the province of Malaga. In September last year the production came to Torremolinos to convert the iconic congress centre into a 1960s version of Los Angeles Airport. These scenes form part of the third season, which is scheduled to premiere in the second half of this year and could coincide with the filming of the fourth instalment in Malaga.
That visit to the Costa del Sol - also organised by Palma Pictures, which is currently filming the series White Lines in Spain with Netflix - was fleeting, but the fourth season of this series produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television will stay for much longer. SUR has confirmed that the action filmed here will be set in different countries of the world and not only in Spain.
The filming of The Crown has the support of Malaga Film Office and Polo Digital (a centre for the development of digital content and technology firms) where the production office for the series is currently being set up. Located alongside the Russian and automobile museums in the Tabacalera building (the former cigarette factory), the centre has been key to the city's ability to attract film production teams because its facilities are ideal to accommodate the equipment used for these big productions.
In the last year, Spanish TV company Antena 3 had its headquarters there for eight months for the shooting of the series Toy Boy. Their teams were joined later by others from the Spanish-Finnish co-production for television, Paradise, and the new Netflix production, Warrior Nun, which occupied two floors. The Celine Dion biopic, The Power of Love, also used the building last June to set up its shooting headquarters.
The Crown is Netflix's most expensive series in which it has taken cameras into 20th-century Britain and unravelled the lives of the British royal family. After ending the story of the second series in the 1960s, the third instalment, about to be released on Netflix, travels from 1964 to 1976, a time when Harold Wilson (played by Jason Watkins) was the prime minister of the country.
As the characters mature the cast has changed and the starring role of Queen Elizabeth II, previously played by Claire Foy, has moved to the latest Oscar-winner for The Favourite, Olivia Colman. Matt Smith, who started the series as the Duke of Edinburgh, has passed on the part to Tobias Menzies (Outlander), while the role of Princess Margaret has now been taken over by Helena Bonham Carter.
This season is expected to see the appearance of Camilla Parker Bowles, while the Princess of Wales will be the most eagerly awaited character of the fourth season to be filmed on the Costa del Sol.