"Fairytale," the third episode of Season 4 of The Crown, offers a rare glimpse into the early days of Prince Charles's relationship with Lady Diana Spencer. However, it wasn't only the gripping storyline that intrigued fans. The credit roll pays tribute to the late Karen Smith, leading many to ask further questions.
Karen Smith was a location manager who worked on Season 2 and 3 of 'The Crown.'
Season 4 of The Crown charts the most significant events taking place between 1979 and 1990, including Margaret Thatcher's appointment as the Prime Minister, the tension-filled period of The Troubles, and the last years of apartheid in South Africa.
The first few episodes, including "The Balmoral Test" and "Fairytale," revolve around the early beginnings of Prince Charles's (Josh O'Connor) relationship with Lady Diana (Emma Corrin). The credit roll of "Fairytale" pays tribute to Karen Smith, a location manager who worked on the show between 2017 and 2019. As the title card reveals, Karen died in 2020, aged 52.
The heart-warming gesture led many viewers to wonder about her work and her involvement in the show.
One of the first The Crown episodes Karen worked on was a Season 2 episode titled "Misadventure," which revolves around the Suez Crisis. Karen stayed on the show for two years, working as a location manager on episodes like "Aberfan," "Tywysog Cymru," and "Imbroglio."
"Aberfan" portrays the horrific disaster that took place in the village of Aberfan, Wales, on Oct. 21, 1966. The catastrophic collapse of the colliery spoil tip located on the mountain slope above the village led to the deaths of 116 children and 28 adults.
"Tywysog Cymru" chronicles Prince Charles's struggles with finding community during his time at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, and his attempts to prove his worth despite the growing anti-English sentiments.
According to Prospects, a location manager is responsible for choosing the right locations where certain scenes will be shot and liaising with various external providers and the creative team to come up with working solutions to problems big and small.
Those working in the field have to carry out in-depth research and lengthy consultations to identify the best settings for a shoot. Location managers are also responsible for securing access to a location for the whole of the crew, the implementation of health and safety regulations during the shooting, and schedule management. In some cases, they also have to deal with miscellaneous tasks such as keeping nosy members of the public at bay.
Other shows that paid tribute to deceased cast members include The Blacklist, Hubie Halloween, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. The Season 8 premiere of The Blacklist, titled "Roanoke (No. 139)," honored Clark Middleton, the legendary actor who previously appeared in movies like Snowpiercer or Sin City.
Hubie Halloween paid tribute to actor and long-time Adam Sandler collaborator Cameron Boyce, while The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is dedicated to Stephen Hillenburg.