‘The Crown’ Wraps Early for Holiday Break Amid COVID Cases

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COVID continues to be a royal pain for the U.K. screen sector, with “The Crown” tackling positive cases on set amid a surge of the Omicron variant.

Variety has confirmed that Netflix wrapped Season 5 production for the holidays ahead of schedule following a number of positive COVID cases. It’s unclear exactly how many cases were discovered, but U.K. outlet The Daily Mail, which first reported the news, suggests eight crew members were affected.

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A spokesperson for the streaming service told Variety: “‘The Crown’ finished filming one day earlier than planned for the Christmas break following a few positive cases within the team, thus ensuring others’ safety and so that everyone on production can enjoy a festive break with their loved ones.”

The show is set to resume shooting in early January, though exact dates aren’t yet known.

While the winter and Christmas period isn’t generally as busy for production in the U.K., the 2020 delays due to COVID have shifted the schedule, and productions like “The Crown” began filming only in July, as revealed by Variety.

Earlier this week, paparazzi snapped photos of scenes being shot with the show’s Tony Blair family. The former British prime minister is played by Bertie Carvel (“Doctor Foster”) while wife Cherie is portrayed by Lydia Leonard (“Last Christmas”).

Season 5 of “The Crown” is keenly anticipated following another casting rejig. “Tenet” star Elizabeth Debicki steps into Princess Diana’s shoes, while Dominic West plays Prince Charles and Imelda Staunton tackles Queen Elizabeth II. Variety revealed last month that West’s son Senan will play Prince William on the show.

The U.K.’s Omicron strain, discovered just weeks back, is proving to be more virulent than previous variants. On Thursday, 88,376 cases were confirmed in the U.K. with Omicron believed to be driving the spike. More than 11,000 cases of Omicron have been so far identified.

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