Imelda Staunton: It's too early to think about my Queen role

Staunton is also due to star in the musical Hello Dolly!

Imelda Staunton says she is not thinking about her new role as the Queen just yet.

The actress, 64, signed up to take over from Olivia Colman, 46, in lavish period drama The Crown.

Staunton, who is also due to star in the musical Hello Dolly!, will appear in the fifth series of the Netflix drama, which will also be the last.

Imelda Staunton will take over from Olivia Colman in The Crown
Imelda Staunton will take over from Olivia Colman in The Crown (Matt Crossick/PA)

Asked if she had seen scripts for The Crown and whether it was still on course to be filmed in 2021, she said: “No and I don’t know!”

She told the PA news agency: “I think what this (the coronavirus crisis) teaches us is, let’s just do today… At the moment you have to do today, get through this week and not project.”

Asked what kind of Queen she will be, the Vera Drake and Harry Potter star said: “I’m not thinking about it. I’ve actually stopped thinking about Hello Dolly!

“This is our job at the moment to protect everyone and each other and look after ourselves and not project… It’s fine. It’ll happen when it happens.”

She said: “Hello Dolly! rehearsals start in June so we just have to hold fire and see what happens. No-one can make any decisions.”

Staunton is confident the theatre industry will survive the lockdown.

Downton Abbey World Premiere – London
Imelda Staunton and husband Jim Carter (Ian West/PA)

“Things will come back… I think theatre, like most things in the world, will start again.

“That might be in a different form but people will always want some theatre or entertainment and it will revive,” she said.

Staunton and her husband Jim Carter are supporting an NHS choir single – a recording of Mariah Carey’s ballad, Anytime You Need A Friend – being released for download on Friday.

Asked whether they had any advice for couples struggling in lockdown, Downton Abbey star Carter said: “We appreciate our good fortune. We do go out for walks together. We spend time together.”

But he added: “We’re lucky enough to have the space to do separate things. I can be out in the garden and Imelda might be reading or doing something different. So keep your sense of humour, if you can.”

The charity track recording of Anytime You Need A Friend by Breathe Harmony NHS choir & Friends is available now for download on iTunes and Amazon.

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