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Netflix plans epic royal drama on the life of the Queen

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Forget Frank Underwood - the Queen is the next big thing to hit Netflix.

The TV streaming service is planning an epic 20-part drama, The Crown, based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her six decades on the throne.

The project has a forecast budget of £100 million and is inspired by Peter Morgan's play, The Audience, sources told the Daily Mail.

Helen Mirren starred in The Audience, based around the weekly audiences given by the Queen to prime ministers since her accession in 1952. She also teamed up with Morgan as writer to play Britain's monarch in 2006 Oscar-winning film The Queen.

Morgan will be joined by Stephen Daldry, who directed his play The Audience as well as the film Billy Elliot, for the series.

The Crown will chart the Queen's six decades at the helm of the British monarchy

It's not yet known who will play the Queen in the Netflix drama, but it's understood the role will be divided between three different actresses over a series of life stages.

"The actresses will have to be British, because I don’t think people will countenance the Queen being played by a foreigner — and I mean no offence when I say that," an executive involved in the project told the Mail.

"There will be hundreds and hundreds of roles to be cast, from prime ministers to international leaders such as the U.S. presidents she has met."

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of the Queen in 2006

Netflix has yet to confirm the series but insiders say it won the rights following a tightly-fought bidding war with the BBC and ITV.

"The focus will be on politics and political machinations, in much the same was as The Audience focused on the Queen's meetings with the prime minister of the day," a source told the Guardian.

The Crown will be the first original Netflix production to be made in the UK and is expected to be filmed next year for broadcast in 2016.

Mirren, 68, is not currently tipped for a part in the show despite her previous award-winning impersonations of the Queen.

House of Cards was instrumental to the success of TV streaming service Netflix

Netflix, which launched in 2012, now has 46 million subscribers globally. Its series House of Cards, a BBC drama remake starring Kevin Spacey, was a runaway success garnering critical praise and record viewing figures.

Prison comedy-drama Orange is the New Black, led by Taylor Schilling, enjoyed similar acclaim after its release in July last year.

Photos: Rex Features

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