The Crown (2016– )
3 user 13 critic

Act of God 

When dense fog cripples London for days and creates a serious health hazard, Churchill's inaction leaves him vulnerable to his political enemies.


Julian Jarrold


Peter Morgan (created by), Peter Morgan | 3 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Foy ... Queen Elizabeth II
Matt Smith ... Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Vanessa Kirby ... Princess Margaret
Eileen Atkins ... Queen Mary
Harriet Walter ... Clemmie Churchill
John Lithgow ... Winston Churchill
Jeremy Northam ... Anthony Eden
Clive Francis ... Lord Salisbury
Nicholas Rowe ... Jock Colville
Pip Torrens ... Tommy Lascelles
Ben Miles ... Peter Townsend
James Hillier ... Equerry (Buckingham Palace)
Simon Chandler ... Clement Attlee
Jo Stone-Fewings ... Collins
Kate Phillips ... Venetia Scott


In December 1952 the country is in the grip of a deadly smog, which causes thousands of deaths, including that of Churchill's secretary Venetia Scott. Elizabeth confronts Churchill with the fact that the smog has been caused by chimney smoke from Conservative-built power stations, and his detractors seize upon this, calling for his resignation. However, he rises to the occasion with hospital visits and the promise of a public enquiry, leading to the Clean Air Act, and Elizabeth decides against his dismissal. Afterwards, Queen Mary tells her that it is not in the monarch's remit to engage in politics. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

4 November 2016 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Left Bank Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?


In research that was published barely 3 weeks after this episode aired, scientists from Texas A&M studying modern Chinese air pollution announced that they had uncovered the chemistry that explained how the The Big Smoke became so acidic beyond normal bounds. See more »


In the beginning of the episode we see Prince Phillip and Group Captain Peter Townsend partaking in a brief airplane flight, and it can be clearly seen that the trees below them are fully covered in leaves, suggesting it is a warmer season. However, it is implied that only a few days pass between this event, and The Great Smog of London that lasted from the 5th to 9th of December. In the final scene of the episode we see Peter Townsend and Prince Phillip taking another flight, once again, implied to be only a few days after The Great Smog, and like in the first scene, the trees are fully covered in leaves. This can't happen during a cold month like December. See more »


[first lines]
Peter Townsend: Fuel on.
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: Fuel on.
Peter Townsend: Chocks are in position. Switches are off. You sure about this, sir?
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: When I got married, my in-laws made me marshal of the Royal Air Force. As a result, I'm the most senior airman in the country, and I can't bloody well fly.
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User Reviews

A tense, claustrophobic episode that benefits from its singular focus.
5 November 2016 | by TouchTheGarlicProductionSee all my reviews

The episode focuses mainly on a single event, and its effects on the government and the populous. By making everything everything in the episode tie together like this, it lends the narrative an urgency and unity that has been in some ways lacking up to this point. Mind you, if every episode were like this, it could start to feel episodic. But thrown in with a bunch of more diverse ones like this one was, this kind of episode comes as a refreshing, exhilarating change of pace.

A thick fog has fallen over London, and Churchill is in denial about its significance. His refusal to act provides an opportunity for others to act against him, destabilizing the entire political situation. Because of the fog, the characters are forced to remain indoors most of the time, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere which is heightened by the rising political tensions. This atmosphere is emphasized by the beginning and end of the episode, which contrast it with beautiful flying sequences.

This is a very good episode, with a self-contained plot and well-constructed atmosphere.

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