The Crown fills a gap

Streaming service Netflix and producers of The Crown have solved the problem of actors not wanting to play the role of the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, in the fifth season of the popular royal melodrama.

I am told that the next season – originally due for release in 2022 – has been facing a possible delay because production companies Left Bank Picture and Sony Pictures Television have had difficulties in attracting actors to take on the role of the Queen’s second son.

“Ever since his disastrous BBC TV interview about his links to child molester, the late Jeffrey Epstein, we’ve had a hell of a time trying to find anyone to play him,” a Netflix insider told me.

“No actor has been willing to be too closely identified as a sex fiend or at least a sex fiend’s friend.

“Not even Michael Caine was interested and he’ll play any role that’s offered to him. We all know some of the turkeys he’s been in just for a quid.

“So we decided to make a pitch to the Duke himself and the response was very positive.

“The Duke was very keen to take on the role because, as he said, he’s at a bit of a loose end these days.

“He was soon at the Netflix offices in London doing a screen test, which was really just a formality. (main picture)

“He was also insistent that we write in a nude scene, in fact several nude scenes, for him in each episode.

“He also had an idea for who might star as his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, the former Sarah Ferguson.

“He suggested we try to sign Peppa Pig to play her, saying he believed they’d have unique on-screen chemistry.

“We had to explain that Peppa – apart from being a fictional character – was still a pre-schooler.

“But that only increased his insistence that we get her in for a screen test with him,” the insider told me.