Victoria Stable Tribute on The Crown: Who Was She?

Image Credit: Focus International

Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ focuses on the real stories about the British Royal Family. Told through a slightly fictional touch, the show tries to remain as close to reality as possible, giving the audience an authentic insight into the life of a royal and how different their life is from what it looks on your TV screen. The most important aspect of such TV shows is exhaustive research that doesn’t leave any stone unturned. In that sense, the people working behind the scenes have the most responsibility to make sure that the show is true to form and that the audience is delivered a story that is rooted in reality. Victoria Stable was one such person.

Victoria Stable Was Critical to the Making of The Crown

Born in 1955, Stable is described as being “always calm, always friend, kind and patient.” She lived in London and died at the age of 68 on May 3, 2023, a few weeks after the filming for ‘The Crown’ Season 6 wrapped up. The cause of her death has not been confirmed.

A member of Focus International since 1996, Stable worked as a researcher and archive producer, working mainly with the copyright clearance of stills footage. Her work also entailed program treatments and script development. Explaining the nature of her job during her appearance on ‘The Crown’ official podcast, Stable described her job in a nutshell as “an experienced film researcher.” “I’m responsible for finding anything that has any copyright invested in it that doesn’t belong to The Crown. So, anything we haven’t generated ourselves, be it sound or moving footage. I only do the moving footage. I don’t get bogged down with stills,” she said.

Image Credit: Sophie Mutevelian/Netflix

In a historical show, the use of archival footage and photos is prevalent, especially in a story like ‘The Crown’ where media plays an important role in driving the narrative about the main characters. Digging out all relevant footage that could enhance the story was one of Stable’s jobs. Her job was “to source the material, get it seen by the right people [and] find out if they want to use it on the screen,” following which there was a whole process of clearances and permissions to be taken from the right places so the show doesn’t get itself in any legal bind.

Stable also explained that things work a bit differently in documentaries, which is another form that she’d worked quite a lot in. “I realized on documentaries how much we sort of winged it. It’s different [because] documentaries have an educational side to them and a new side to them, whereas drama is commercial and it’s entertainment,” she added. Apart from helping the writers and directors get the details of a scene right, she also often helped actors get a sense of the person they were supposed to portray.

Stable talked about collaborating with actor Khalid Abdalla, who plays Dodi Fayed, and how they searched and searched for any footage of Fayed. He’d been out of the media limelight for most of his life, and even when he was with Diana, there weren’t many interviews or videos of him. Eventually, they found a five-second video of him delivering a statement in a court case in Toronto, and that’s what she and Abdalla used to breathe life into Dodi in ‘The Crown.”

While Stable had worked on many projects over the years, she called her work on ‘The Crown’ the most passionate of all. She worked on all six seasons of the Netflix series and always tried to add something that would give more heart and soul to the story and bring the audience closer to the subjects of the show. Of all the episodes, she called the eighth episode in Season 5, titled ‘Panorama,’ the most challenging one for her. Apart from ‘The Crown,’ she is also credited for her work in ‘South Bank Show,’ ‘Little Drummer Girl,’ ‘Black Earth Rising,’ ‘Crude Britannia’ and ‘Spitting Image,’ among others.

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