The producers of The Crown have issued an apology to leading stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith over the controversy surrounding the discrepancies in their paychecks for their work on the show.

It was revealed to widespread condemnation earlier this month that former Doctor Who actor Smith was paid more for his portrayal of the Prince Phillip than his co-star Foy garnered for the title role of the Queen in the series.

Left Bank Pictures, producers of the hugely popular Netflix series, addressed the controversy in a statement which read: "We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own.

"Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown, have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity.

"As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues."

The Crown producers apologise to Claire Foy and Matt Smith
The Crown producers apologise to Claire Foy and Matt Smith

Left Bank Pictures added in the statement that they wish to address the gender pay imbalance in the future.

"We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a rebalancing of the industry's treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes," their statement continued.

"We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate.

"As company policy, we are engaged in conversations with ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Times Up UK - organisations which are working to ensure all women have a voice."

Foy will no longer feature in the royal period drama as Olivia Colman will be taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the third and fourth seasons.

It is not yet known who will take over from Matt Smith as Prince Phillip. The actor previously said he was "disappointed" to be departing the show as he's scared he'll "never land a part as great again".

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