Case Study: The Crown – Series 3 & 4

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Martin Phipps is a composer I have admired for a long time, ever since I first heard his score to the British version of Wallander. It was at a time in my life where a lot of not very good things had happened, and my obsession with both the filming and scoring of Wallander re-engaged my enthusiasm for music and composing and sound design and, in many ways, kicked-started what would eventually become The Unfinished.

So, it was obviously an honour to be contacted by him a couple of years ago to work with him on his score for Black Earth Rising.

Fortunately for me, Martin got in touch with me again, after he had been hired to score the third series of Netflix‘s hugely successful series, The Crown.

This was a slightly different job for me as it wasn’t just synth programming and sound design that Martin wanted me to do. Martin sent me a handful of demo cues and suites from his early work on the series and asked me to come in, with my sounds, and “enhance” the cues… I suppose that’s the best way to put it. Add some oomph here, some atmosphere there, fire it off to him and see what sticks – a proper collaboration, which I enjoyed immensely as it allowed me to combine a bit of my musical chops to my usual programming work (synth nerds: I mainly used ZebraHZ and Omnisphere).

This process worked superbly well in the third series and Martin invited me back to work with him again on the fourth (Thatcher & Diana time!). Well, obviously I never thought I’d work on a project, creating sounds to accompany the machinations of Margaret Thatcher, but here we are!

Martin’s an absolute gent as well as an incredibly talented composer, and I do hope I get to work with him again soon.

Yet again, I have to confess to not having watched the series, despite the rave reviews of it AND despite having a major crush on Olivia Coleman (although would that be like having a crush on the Queen here?! can I be sent to the Tower?!). Anyway, don’t @ me, I know… get Netflix already.


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