'The Crown' season five: introducing the cast, including Arab actors portraying Al-Fayeds

Acclaimed royal drama has returned with an all-new cast

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Netflix has released season five of its hit show The Crown, the award-winning historical drama centred around the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

First released in 2016, starting with Queen Elizabeth's wedding in 1947, the series has won numerous accolades over the years, including a whopping 63 Emmy nominations and 21 wins.

The fourth season, which was released in November 2020, covered the time period between 1979 and 1990, including Margaret Thatcher's 11-year run as the British prime minister. The show swept the Emmy Awards last year, winning in most of the major categories, including Outstanding Drama Series.

Each season of The Crown jumps a few years ahead in the timeline and new actors play the same characters to reflect the ageing process. The new season will therefore feature an all-new cast, including actress Imelda Staunton, who takes over the role of the queen from Olivia Colman.

Scroll through the gallery above for pictures of all the new actors in season five of 'The Crown'

Both Colman, who portrayed the queen in seasons three and four, and Claire Foy, who played her in seasons one and two, have won Best Actress Emmys for their roles.

Season five of The Crown is highly-anticipated, not least because it is the show's penultimate season, but also because it was expected to cover the royal family's turbulent 1990s period, when Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage fell apart.

The death of Queen Elizabeth on September 8 has added to the intrigue. Production for the sixth season was suspended on the day of the queen's death and again for the funeral of Britain's longest-serving monarch.

Season five also features Arab actors, with British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, United 93) cast as Dodi Al-Fayed, Princess Diana's lover who died with her in a Paris car crash in 1997.

Israeli actor Salim Daw plays the billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi's father, while British-Egyptian actor Amir El-Masry portrays a younger version of Mohamed.

Popular Pakistani actor Humayun Saeed has also been cast, as Dr Hasnat Khan, the British-Pakistani surgeon who was in a relationship with Princess Diana following her divorce from Prince Charles.

The series has been widely acclaimed as a drama, but some have criticised it for lapses of historical accuracy. Two years ago, Netflix rejected calls for a disclaimer to be added to the series.

Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown and the writer of other recent history dramas including The Queen and Frost/Nixon, has defended his work, calling it thoroughly researched and true in spirit.

Elizabeth Debicki, who takes on the role of Princess Diana from Emma Corin, said: "Out of all the seasons, this is the most visual content we have of the royal family. In the 1990s, everything had started to be filmed and also it was the birth of the 24-hour news cycle, so there's just this incredible amount of content that we have access to."

Staunton also said she hopes she's done justice to the role of Queen Elizabeth.

“What has been nice, and I hope I don't prove them wrong, is people saying, ‘I'm really looking forward to seeing her as the queen'," she said earlier. "So, let's just hope that works out for them because I've done it. Nothing I can do about it now.”

Season five of The Crown is out now.

Stars of 'The Crown' from season one to five — in pictures

Updated: November 11, 2022, 7:55 AM