THE third series of The Crown thrilled fans on Sunday when it kicked off with the revelation the Queen unwittingly employed a KGB spy, Sir Anthony Blunt.
And I can exclusively reveal the storyline returns in season four with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outing him as a traitor — and humiliating Her Majesty in the process.
The flashpoint sets the tone for the ongoing relationship between the PM, played by Gillian Anderson, and Her Majesty (Olivia Colman).
A TV insider said: “The creators of The Crown want to show just how strained the dynamic was between two leaders who had very different ways of operating.
“They wanted to maximise the drama between, arguably, then the most powerful women in the world.
“The fact Maggie embarrasses the Queen by exposing the Blunt scandal was a great starting point, and the interactions between them deliver some sensational performances from Olivia and Gillian.”
Blunt passed on 2,000 secrets to the Kremlin while working as the Queen’s art curator. He admitted his crimes in 1964 and his royal boss was informed.
Despite this, he was allowed to keep his job and given immunity from prosecution, with Her Majesty forced to hide the truth to spare MI6’s blushes.
Then in 1979, new PM Maggie exposed the scandal. It brought shame on the Palace and the secret services.
The Queen found the relationship with her ninth prime minister one of the most difficult, but by the end of her time in Downing Street the disdain turned to respect.
Let’s hope the transition doesn’t happen too quickly in the new series of The Crown — the greater the tension, the juicier the viewing.
THE former home of cult TV show TFI Friday, with Chris Evans, is set to reopen after a five-year closure.
The refurbished Riverside Studios on the banks of the Thames in west London features several theatre spaces and a TV studio.
READ MORE FROM ANDY HALLS’ BIZARRE TV COLUMN
DENISE Van Outen has revealed she wouldn’t mind reuniting with her former Big Breakfast co-host Johnny Vaughan on a reality TV show.
Almost 19 years after the pair last fronted the now defunct Channel 4 weekday-morning show together, Denise, below, said: “I still love him to bits.
“It would be funny if they threw us in the jungle together – I’d love to do I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!
“But I’d never do SAS as I don’t like people shouting at me. We’ve messaged and said: ‘We should meet up’.
“But sometimes when I do meet up with male people in the industry their egos take over a bit and they don’t want to have the conversation.”
I’m not sure if the tension of a reality TV show would help heal the wounds or force them wider open.
PEAKY BLINDERS’ Emmett J Scanlan will star in Channel 5 thriller The Deceived.
He plays English lecturer Dr Michael Callaghan who has an affair with a student, Ophelia, (EMILY REID) making her doubt her own mind.
Helena a fan of family
HELENA Bonham Carter looks more like a Spanish senorita than a British princess in her new TV show.
The actress, currently playing Princess Margaret in Netflix drama, The Crown, goes a little Latin for Channel 4’s My Grandfather’s War.
Helena retraces the steps of her maternal grandfather, Spanish diplomat Eduardo Propper de Callejon.
Eduardo used his position to help thousands of Jews escape Occupied France in World War Two.
She also discovered one person he saved from the German concentration camps went on to create the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The humanitarian agency helps the world’s most impoverished youngsters.
Meanwhile back home her grandmother Lady Violet Bonham Carter was trying to get Jewish people safely into Britain and was so publicly anti-Nazi she was put on a Gestapo hitlist.
Helena is the first of four stars to looks at their grandparent’s contribution to the war effort on the four-part show, which starts next Wednesday at 9pm. (Nov 27)
The other names are Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas and Carey Mulligen.
WHAT? Gold Digger, BBC1, 9pm.
WHY? Toyboy Benjamin (Ben Barnes) is shocked by the wealth of Julia (Julia Ormond) when he visits her Devon home and refused to let her see where he lives.
Vic lets rip on comedy
FUNNYMAN Vic Reeves is a bit of a misery when it comes to homegrown comedy shows.
He told the Radio Times: “I usually give comedy on television a three-minute glance and then decide whether I like it or not. It’s usually not.
“I don’t really like British comedy. What’s that one that people seem to like so much? Fleabag.
“I watched that and it was that sort of Oxbridge ‘Oh, I’m so clever and witty, aren’t I?’ I don’t like that stuff.
“I don’t like Mrs Brown’s Boys, either. I like things that are clever but hide it.”
He labelled BBC2 show Gone Fishing – with his old comedy partner Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse – “the sort of thing that my mum used to watch on a Sunday night.”
“It’s nice to watch if you’ve got nothing to do. It’s like Countryfile with illness stories.” What a sweetheart.
- Corrie’s Beverley Callard confirms she’s leaving ITV soap
- Lorraine Kelly slams Jennifer Arcuri for saying nothing on GMB
Holmes ‘n away
THIS Morning host Eamonn Holmes got up and left halfway through making The Mo Gilligan Show because it was taking too long.
Dermot O’Leary said the broadcaster walked out of the Channel 4 recording because he had to be up early.
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Dermot told the new series of podcast Out To Lunch with Jay Rayner: “He said, ‘How much longer is this going to go on for?’
“I said, ‘Well, I think it’s the third or fourth part’. He said, ‘Oh, no. No, no,’ and he just, and it wasn’t announced, it was just literally, like, he wasn’t on the couch.”
Channel 5's pet project
TV host Jo Brand and ex-EastEnders actress Nina Wadia and Strictly star Michelle Visage are among the celebs appearing in Channel 5’s week-long Help The Animals At Christmas, which last year raised £800,000 for animal charities.
Programmes featuring this year are Celebrity Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly, The Yorkshire Vet’s Donkey Day Out, Save the Hedgehogs, The Yorkshire Vet: 12 Days of Christmas and Funniest Ever Pets at Christmas.
Plus in The Dogumentary on My5, stars are filmed by a camera attached to their dog.
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