Season 4 of “The Crown” has brought Margaret Thatcher to the popular Netflix series – and viewers are already reacting to the portrayal on social media.
In the 10-episode drama, Gillian Anderson plays Thatcher, the U.K.’s first female prime minister and Conservative Party leader, who died at 87 in 2013.
Anderson’s portrayal of the British political leader, which was built step by step, from distinctive voice to helmet-hair wig to padded wardrobe, was so uncanny to co-star Olivia Colman (who plays Queen Elizabeth II), that she described it to the Associated Press as “quite scary.”
“Sitting opposite her, especially with the light behind her a bit, it was” — at which point the Oscar-winning Colman paused, shivering dramatically and widening her eyes — “like she was there.”
On Twitter, viewers praised Anderson’s portrayal.
“20 minutes in… and already the decision to cast Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher is one of the best television has ever made. #TheCrown” user @elliot_gonzalez tweeted.
“Retweet to give Gillian Anderson an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher #TheCrown” user @scllygibson tweeted.
Others praised the portrayal while criticizing Thatcher herself.
“While you’re watching the Crown. Yes, Gillian Anderson is fabulous. Margaret Thatcher was foul. In SO many ways,” user @txvoodoo tweeted.
“Gillian Anderson playing margaret thatcher in the crown is so conflicting because on the one hand I love Gillian Anderson but on the other I hate thatcher so much…” user @gothicdogsclub said.
“I knew Gillian Anderson was gone make people like Margaret Thatcher too much,” user @DarkSisterHive said.
Social media users aren’t the only ones reacting to Anderson’s role.
Anderson is so arresting as Thatcher that even cynical late-night hosts became giddy fans when she was on as a guest. “I’m already giving you the Emmy for this,” Jimmy Kimmel said, asking if she’d called President-elect Joe Biden with official congrats. Stephen Colbert saluted her performance as “extraordinary.”
A bonus of Thatcher’s addition to “The Crown”: unexpectedly comedic moments involving her and the queen, including a scene in which the prime minister who became known as “the Iron Lady” executes a curtsy verging on Monty Python-esque.
Oxford-educated but with middle-class roots, Thatcher is portrayed as ill-equipped to meet the Windsor standard for fitting behavior.
As depicted in “The Crown,” the queen and Thatcher had something in common other than being less than a year apart in age: A shared distrust of women in authority, themselves exempted.
“Even though it’s an extraordinary moment in history, and certainly in British history,” Anderson noted to the Associated Press, Thatcher appointed only one female cabinet member in her 11-year tenure.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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