Martin Phipps Interview: ‘The Crown’ composer
“I couldn’t say no when I was approached,” admits Martin Phipps about taking over as composer on season 3 of “The Crown” “That’s because I absolutely love it and it’s one of the best things on TV.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Phipps above.
After two seasons in which “The Crown” focused on the early years of Queen Elizabeth II‘s reign as monarch, the series returned late last year with a new cast in the spotlight. Oscar winner Olivia Colman replaced Emmy winner Claire Foy as the Queen, Tobias Menzies replaced Matt Smith as Prince Phillip, Helena Bonham Carter replaced Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret and a raft of new characters joined the fold as Oscar, Emmy and Tony-nominated showrunner Peter Morgan cast Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Erin Doherty and Princess Anne. The cast just won the top drama ensemble prize for the first time earlier this year at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Along with the new cast, Phipps also took the reins of creating the series’ evocative musical score, replacing acclaimed composers Rupert Gregson-Williams and Lorne Balfe. “It was a big ask trying to follow in their footsteps,” he reveals. “It was daunting! But what was reassuring is that it was always like we want to do this different, we like what you do and we want to try something else.”
This season begins with Harold Wilson‘s election as prime minister in 1964 and ends with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. We also explore the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles, his early romantic relationship with Camilla Shand (soon to be Parker-Bowles), the disaster in Aberfan, Wales that tragically killed 116 schoolchildren, Prince Phillip’s reaction to the Apollo 11 moon landing and his strained relationship with his mother Princess Alice, the deaths of the Duke of Windsor and Winston Churchill and Princess Margaret’s affair with Roddy Llewellyn, her suicide attempt and her 1978 divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones.
“The whole show was like a reboot, with a new cast and a whole new approach from top to bottom and they wanted to do that with the music,” Phipps explains, adding that he’s “trying to do things that you don’t necessarily think you’re going to have in a British Royal Family period drama,” he says. “That was always my brief. Be adventurous. Peter Morgan always said he never wanted this to feel like a BBC Sunday night drama.”