The Crown viewers react to “harrowing” episode depicting Aberfan disaster


The Crown season 3 tackles many dramatic moments in the lives of the Royal Family, however, one episode is creating a great deal of conversation.

In the third episode, The Queen (Olivia Colman) gives an initially cold and reserved response to the Aberfan Disaster in 1966 where a coal spoil on the slopes above the Welsh village of Aberfan spilled over and claimed the lives of 116 children and 28 adults from the community below.

Due to pressure from the public and her Prime Minister Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins), along with hearing moving accounts from site visitors Lord Snowdon (Ben Daniels) and Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), The Queen eventually makes the journey there but struggles to have an emotional reaction.

However, the episode ends with her listening to a recording of the singing school children and breaking into tears.

Naturally for such serious subject matter, much conversation has developed around the episode on social media.

Olivia Colman as The Queen visiting Aberfan in The Crown

One viewer wrote on Twitter: “Just reached S3:Ep3 of #TheCrown and am absolutely traumatised. What a harrowing event #Aberfan was in Welsh History amd tastefully done”

Another noted: I’m only 15 minutes into E3 Aberfan of the Crown and already I’m having to pause because I’m in bits #TheCrown #aberfan #thecrownseason3

A Welsh viewer said: “The Aberfan episode of #TheCrown Being welsh i was taught about this tragedy,part of our history but this brings it home it’s a tragedy that should never be forgotten,those poor children and teachers should never be forgotten RIP”

For one viewer it was informative: “I’ve never heard of Aberfan before and this episode is just. #TheCrownNetflix

Another Netflix viewer said: “absolutely harrowing episode based on the disaster of aberfan #TheCrownNetflix #TheCrown

One noted: “The level of detail put into showing and telling the story of the Aberfan disaster truly makes for harrowing and heartbreaking viewing. #TheCrown

Finally, one viewer said: “#TheCrown Aberfan ep is masterful. Don’t recommend watching if you’re feeling fragile. Sobbing. Now the world will remember the 144 lives taken by neglect; remember the 116 children who didn’t come home. But why did it take a TV show? Why isn’t Welsh history taught? Fe gofiwn.”

The Crown producer Suzanne Mackie told The Guardian: “Of all the different stories The Crown has done so far, this was most difficult in terms of our duty of care. But it is true to the spirit of all we learned.”

Creator Peter Morgan added: “There have been remarkably few hiccups in her long reign but that was a regret she felt, so I had always known we were going to cover it if we were commissioned to continue the show.

“It can only compare to the days that followed Diana’s death, the ones I dealt with in the film The Queen. That moment came as salt in a wound: the earlier idea she had not shown emotion about Aberfan.”

The Crown season 3 is available now on Netflix.

What did you think of the portrayal of the Aberfan disaster in The Crown? Let us know in the comments below.


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