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The Crown

Netflix series The Crown is a biographical drama series based on the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Covering the period from her 1947 marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to the brink of the Suez Crisis in 1956, it includes the period when her sister Princess Margaret's engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend crumbled.

Created and written by Peter Morgan for Netflix, it originally evolved from Morgan's 2006 film, The Queen, and his 2013 West End play, The Audience, which starred Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth. It focused on her weekly meetings (known as audiences) with the Prime Minister.

The first season of The Crown began broadcasting on Netflix on 4th November 2016 and a second series is scheduled for release on 8th December this year. It stars Claire Foy as the Queen and Matt Smith as the Duke of Edinburgh, with Vanessa Kirby playing Princess Margaret, Ben Miles as Group Captain Peter Townsend and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill - the Queen's first Prime Minister.

It was said to be the most expensive TV series ever, costing an estimated £100 million to produce. It provides a beautifully-filmed, lavish snapshot of some of England's finest stately homes, sumptuous costumes and luxurious old limousines, with some of Britain's finest young acting talent in the leading roles.

The series has been acclaimed for shedding light on the Queen and Prince Philip's youth, before they grew into the people we know today. The Queen is portrayed sympathetically as a young woman who must get to grips with her new role as the monarch.

The Crown also provides viewers with an interesting insight into the technology of the era, with a look at the old switchboard telephone system showing how calls were handled in the mid-20th century. Switchboard operators were responsible for connecting land-lines across the globe in the 1950s.

The caller would ring their local switchboard and ask to be connected to the required number. The switchboard operator would call their corresponding switchboard operator in the relevant destination, who would then manually connect the call through an amazing network of cables and a huge switchboard. On putting the call through, the switchboard operators would speak to the recipient to tell them who was calling. They connected the calls by inserting a pair of phone plugs into the relevant jacks. Although it was much more time-consuming, it was a more personal way of calling compared with today's system.

Buckingham Palace had its own switchboard, through which the operators could connect incoming calls to the relevant part of the building. Episode four opens and closes with Princess Margaret calling Queen Elizabeth, showing in detail the intricate workings of the switchboard. The scenes of the actual switchboards reveal how complicated it was just to connect two callers in the '50s. In fact, the scenes of switchboard operators in The Crown seem to show it was as complicated to connect Princess Margaret to Buckingham Palace when she lived at Clarence House with the Queen Mother (just over the road), as it was to connect a call between Rhodesia and England!

Electromechanical automatic telephone exchanges gradually began to replace manual switchboards through the 1970s and 1980s. This enabled telephone companies to shut down smaller centres and consolidate their operator services in a regional centre, which could be hundreds of miles from the caller. People who required operator services for reverse charge calls, for example, could manually call the operator if necessary.

Electrical rubber matting or switchboard matting is commonly used today for health and safety reasons because rubber is known to have exceptional electrical insulating properties that will reduce or stop electric currents. It is used to protect employees from the risks of electrical shocks at switchboards, in plant rooms and control rooms or where they must handle live equipment.

Coruba stocks the UK's most extensive and compliant range of electrical safety and switchboard matting. Ring, ring… why don’t you give us a call?

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