A man from Buckinghamshire has lifted the lid on his experience behind the scenes of Netflix's royal drama The Crown. 

Paul Simmons, 75, who lives in Marlow Bottom, is a veteran of the film extras industry if ever there was one, with 20 years of experience under his belt and a resume that ranges from Downton Abbey to Harry Potter.

His latest foray onto the small screen came with the release of the final season of Netflix's hit drama series The Crown, in which Paul plays first a reveller at a scene depicting a VE Day celebration at The Ritz in 2945 and a Canon walking up the aisle at Charles (Dominic West) and Camilla's (Olivia Williams) wedding.

"The wedding was shot at York Minster and I was initially meant to be one of the wedding guests, but at the last minute, they decided to make me one of the clergy instead.

"It's funny because I met Imelda Staunton, who plays Queen Elizabeth II, on the set of Downton Abbey years ago - I ran into her while she was on location with her husband Jim, who played a butler in the series.

Bucks Free Press:

"Then, years later, I had a background role in the second Downton Abbey film and, although we're not supposed to approach the actors while we're filming, she came over and said she remembered me. The environment in the cathedral was very different though - I wouldn't have wanted to go up to her in there, you'd get run off the set!"

Paul added that the VE Day scene - which he didn't realise he would feature in, being so far away from the camera, until he watched the new season on Netflix - was filmed at The Savoy rather than The Ritz and had been a carefully curated atmosphere of "chaos and mayhem".

Bucks Free Press:

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"I was sat at a table and they had a band playing and people dancing in another part of the room. At the very last minute, they had a cameraman come around the room with a steady cam strapped to his body and he got sweeping shots across two or three tables, including mine. It happened very quickly!"

The 75-year-old originally got into the extras business by fairly unconventional means. Growing up in Wembley, he formed a band with his classmates before going on to work as a professional musician for 12 years.

Bucks Free Press:

While playing bass in The Roy Young Band, Paul was given the chance, alongside his bandmates to appear in a party scene of the 1972 film Zee and Co., starring Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine and shot at Shepperton Studios in Surrey.

Although he went on to quit music and settle down with his wife in Marlow Bottom, Paul began dabbling with extra work again in the early 2000s and has since worked steadily on productions including Mary Queen of Scots and Call the Midwife, sharing the screen with many the accomplished film veteran.

Bucks Free Press:

"I've always found it fascinating, but as I've grown older, that fascination has diminished slightly. It can be difficult when jobs invariably start very early in the morning or involve long hours.

"The thing, too, is that a lot of filming just ends up on the cutting room floor. There was an episode of Midsomer Murders I did years ago and I thought a camera was sure to have caught me. I was amazed to not be in it when it came out, but you don't always make the cut!"