You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Remote Controlled: ‘The Crown’s’ Matt Smith on Season 2’s Twist, Philip’s Infidelity, and ‘Doctor Who’s’ New Star

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with Matt Smith, the star of Netflix’s “The Crown.” Smith discusses the evolution of his role as Prince Philip, and how the second season lives up to Season 1’s universal acclaim.

Smith opened up about how his character’s storyline expands in the new season. “There’s a lot of misconceptions about him as a character and him as a person. The more you sort of delve into him and the more you begin to look into his past, you see that actually it was very tragic and there was a great deal of pain in it,” he hints. “Hopefully it will reinform people’s perception of him in the future.”

He also admits he didn’t know much about Prince Philip or the royal family before the show.

“My feelings have changed completely about him,” Smith shares. “I have a much more affectionate opinion of him than I did. I learned who I saw him to be, and I really admire the things in him that a lot of people who watch the show don’t admire.”

While Smith notes many viewers don’t appreciate Prince Philip’s “alpha-ness,” he says it’s something he has grown to cherish that about the character.

“His intention and the truth of his love, there’s a purity to that and an honesty to that, even though he may or may not have made mistakes along the way,” he says.

Still, Smith doesn’t deny Prince Philip has made some missteps. “That’s not me commenting on his alleged infidelity, but I think he’s definitely made mistakes in the emotional choices that he’s made,” Smith says, adding, “As a man, I don’t judge that. I empathize with it.”

In his research, Smith said he learned a number of things about the prince. “I was surprised what a committed dad he was because a lot of the time he was doing the parenting because he was away. Again, that was a misconception about him because he has a tricky relationship with Charles, but I think he was quite involved with that.”

Smith adds, “I didn’t know he had such a dramatic childhood. There was so much tragedy involved.”

Despite the show being rooted in history, Smith says the series continues to surprise him. As the show moves forward to approach the Thatcher years, the Clinton era, and the Iraq war, a different actor will assume the role of Prince Philip, but he says he’s ready to turn over the mantle. “Parts are there to be reinterpreted,” he says.

Smith, who portrayed the 11th incarnation of the Doctor, also praised “Doctor Who’s” decision to cast a female lead for the upcoming season.

“I think it’s going to be a very exciting time for the show,” he says. “I think a show like that really thrives off choices of flair, whether that be in the acting or the direction or indeed, the fundamental choices that make the show.”

You can listen to this week’s podcast here:

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes here.

More TV

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content