Corrie star Nicholas Gleaves is behind John Birt in The Crown season 5

The Crown season five delves into the events of the 1990s, from the dramatic fire at Windsor Castle, to the breakdown of Prince Charles (played by Dominic West) and Princess Diana’s (Elizabeth Debicki) marriage. Series five, episode eight, called Gunpowder, showed the lead-up to Martin Bashir (Prasanna Puwanarajah) securing the interview with the Princess of Wales and the arguments around airing it on the BBC. Here’s everything there is to know about BBC boss John Birt and who plays him in The Crown.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from The Crown.

Who is John Birt? 

Lord John Birt is the former director general of the BBC who worked at the broadcaster for eight years, leaving the company in 2000.

In The Crown series five, Birt is seen questioning whether or not they should run the Panorama interview with him in favour of getting it out into the public domain.

His colleague, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the BBC, Duke Hussey (Richard Cordery), on the other hand, was opposed to using the footage.

Nevertheless, Birt had the final say and decided to air the interview which would become an important moment in the Royal Family’s history.

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Last year, Birt opened up at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee about the interview.

He labelled journalist Bashir a “serial liar on an industrial scale”.

Birt added: “It is an absolute horror story and it should never have happened, and it is a complete embarrassment that it did happen.”

Following his time at the BBC, Bird became an advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair and was made a Lord.

Actor Gleaves was behind scammer Duncan Radfield in ITV’s Corrie back in 2018.

He was applying for a grant from Weatherfield Borough Council to set up a charity in memory of his late wife who died of a stroke.

Duncan was able to con Sally Metcalfe (Sally Dynevor), who was Mayor at the time, so it would look as if she scammed the council out of thousands of pounds.

Thankfully, her name was eventually cleared but she could no longer be the Mayor.

Starring opposite Gleaves as Duke Hussey in The Crown is actor Richard Cordery.

He has been in films such as Les Miserables, Judy, Mr Turner and The Wife.

In terms of his TV credits, Cordery has popped up in shows such as Whitechapel, Marcella, Dickensian and Inside No 9.

The Crown is available to watch on Netflix.

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