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Who is The Crown star Jason Watkins? His career history, and who he's playing in the new series

He's starring in series three of the show

Francesca Shillcock

He's set to appear in the brand new series of The Crown arriving on Netflix on Sunday, and actor Jason Watkins is taking on the role of Prime Minister Harold Wilson. But who is the film and television actor? Ahead of the new series landing, we've done some investigating. Here's all you need to know about The Crown star…

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Jason Watkins and his co-stars at the premiere

Who is Jason?

Jason Watkins is a stage, television and film actor and has been in the business for over 30 years. Having studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Jason is well experienced in the acting world and has been nominated for an Olivier Award, as well as winning a BAFTA for his role in TV drama The lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies (more on that later)…

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Jason Watkins in The Crown

Who is Jason playing in The Crown?

Jason is taking on the role of Prime Minister Harold Wilson in series three of The Crown. Becoming Prime Minister in 1964, Harold Wilson led a Labour government for six years until 1970. Speaking to HELLO! on the red carpet for The Crown premiere, Jason explained what it was like taking on the role of the political leader. "The more I researched him, the more I liked him" he told HELLO!

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The actor also joked about the reason he was cast to play the political leader: "I thought he was a rather bland, rather grey sort of person - that's why I was cast!" He continued, "I think he had a certain amount of wit and intelligence [and] was a great political operator."

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Jason Watkins was awarded a BAFTA in 2015

What else has Jason been in?

Jason has proved to be quite an eclectic actor over the years. He started his career working predominantly on the stage and is also a member of the National Theatre company. In 2014, Jason appeared in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies playing the titular role. The drama told the true story of the trial of Christopher Jefferies, a teacher wrongly accused of murder. Christopher was the initial suspect in the murder of Joanna Yates, but was found innocent. Jason won the Best Actor BAFTA award for his portrayal of Christopher. The 53-year-old has also appeared in many comedy shows such as Miranda, Doctor Who and Trollied. He has also appeared as a regular character in BBC comedy W1A, since 2014.

Personal life

Jason's wife is jewellery designer Clara Francis. In 2011, their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Maude tragically died of Sepsis. Jason dedicated his 2015 BAFTA award to his Maude, and he also campaigns for greater sepsis awareness. Jason and Clara have two other children, Bessie and Gilbert, while Jason also has two sons from his first marriage.

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Jason and his wife Clara at The Crown premiere

Speaking on Lorraine, Jason explained why filming scenes focusing on the Aberfan disaster was difficult following the death of his daughter. He told Lorraine: "People probably know I lost a child, me and my wife Clara lost Maude in 2011, so to go and have an episode about the loss of a child was very difficult." He continue: "And I think I suppose above anyone else wanted to make it in the right way. It helps us to remember what happened... I'm very proud to be part of that, no matter how difficult it was."

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