The Crown recreates Chariots of Fire

The Crown recreates Chariots of Fire

12/20/2021

The Crown’s Dodi Fayed unmasked! Actor Khalid Abdalla sports a luxurious moustache as he’s seen filming without a face covering for the first time at Camber Sands recreation of the Chariots of Fire film set

  • Photographs offer glimpse at new scenes from The Crown as actor Khalid Abdalla transformed into Dodi
  • Actors portraying Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed and his father Mohamed spotted on the set of The Crown 
  • The Netflix series appears to be recreating his part in the making of the 1981 Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire
  • Comes despite the fact that the film was shot a decade before Dodi dated Princess of Wales 
  • Snaps are first to show Khalid unmasked, after he was spotted on the set in September in a face covering

Khalid Abdalla transformed into Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed as he was seen on the set of The Crown this week, as the hit Netflix series replicates his part in the making of the 1981 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire. 

Photographs taken of the set at Camber Sands, in East Sussex, show Khalid lounging in a director’s chair while cameras film actors running along the beach in scenes similar to the award-winning production.

He was joined by his father, Mohammed, portrayed by Salim Dau, in the scenes filmed for the fifth series of the hit Netflix series, with the two appearing deep in conversation. 

It marked the first occasion Khalid, who sported a full luxurious moustache, has been seen without a face covering on the set, having first been spotted wearing a mask while filming in September.  

Dodi, who became romantically involved with the Princess of Wales 16 years later in the summer of 1997, was an executive producer on the 1981 film after his billionaire father Mohamed Al Fayed set him up in the movie business. 

But in 2012, film producer Lord Puttnam claimed he ordered Dodi off the set of the film – which told the story of the 1924 Olympics – after the man who later stole Princess Diana’s heart tried to give the cast cocaine.

The upcoming fifth series of The Crown – which sees British actor Khalid, cast to play the role of Dodi – will cover the Royal Family’s history throughout the 1990s, so it’s unclear if the Netflix show has altered timelines slightly.

Dodi and Diana were photographed enjoying each other’s company on his boat, named ‘Cujo’, in July 1997, just weeks before their deaths in a Paris car crash on August 31 the same year. 

Khalid Abdalla transformed into Princess Diana ‘s lover Dodi Fayed as he was seen on the set of The Crown, as the hit Netflix series replicates his part in the making of the 1981 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire


Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed’s executive producer chair has been spotted on the set of The Crown as the hit Netflix series replicates his part in the making of the 1981 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire (pictured left). Pictured right, Executive producer Dodi Fayed, left, with Chariots of Fire producer David Puttham, right

Final holiday: Diana and Dodi are pictured in St Tropez on August 22, 1997 – nine days before their deaths

The Crown appeared to be recreating the film set for the hit movie Chariots of Fire, with extras running through the sea at Camber Sands 

In the photographs,  Khalid can be seen wearing a casual pair of denim jeans with a long brown overcoat and a matching jumper.

He joins his father on the set of the film, with the two chatting with one another from the director’s chairs.

At another stage, the actor could be seen strolling along the beach with a mobile phone as he took a break from filming.

He could also be seen enjoying a cup of tea while filming the hit Netflix drama on Camber Sands.  

In the photographs, Khalid can be seen wearing a casual pair of denim jeans with a long brown overcoat and a matching jumper


At another stage, the actor could be seen strolling along the beach with a mobile phone as he took a break from filming (pictured) 

Dodi, who became romantically involved with the Princess of Wales 16 years later in the summer of 1997, was an executive producer on the 1981 film after his billionaire father Mohamed Al Fayed set him up in the movie business 


The actor – who also starred in the Kite Runner – could be seen relaxing on the beach between takes as he spoke on the phone (left) and enjoyed a cup of tea (right) 

He was joined by his father, Mohammed, in the scenes filmed for the next series of the hit Netflix series, with the two appearing deep in conversation (pictured) 


The actors could be seen apparently sharing a bonding moment during one scene which was filmed at the beach earlier this week (pictured) 

Mohamed reached across to rest a hand on his son’s shoulder during the scene, which is set during the filming of the hit movie Chariots of Fire 

Eventually Chariots Of Fire (pictured) took £26million at US box offices alone – and Al Fayed made a reported £6.5million


 In photographs taken on the hit Netflix show’s set, Dodi can be seen lounging in a chair alongside his father while on the beach 

Also pictured on the set was Connie M’Gadzah, who was the longtime personal valet to the Duke of Windsor until his death in in 1972. Later he was valet for Mohamed Al-Fayed (pictured)


After Dodi and Mohamed spoke briefly, it appeared the scene moved on to show the father speaking with Connie M’Gadzah (pictured left and right) 

The two actors appeared to exchange words during the filming of the scene on Camber beach earlier this week (pictured) 


Later, the cast appeared to be receiving instructions for the scenes on the beach (left and right), with Khalid speaking to a director 

Mohamed and Connie could be seen sharing a laugh while Dodi sat behind the pair on the director’s chair during filming of Chariots of Fire 


It’s unclear if the men were just joking around between takes or whether they were rehearsing for a scene within the hit Netflix drama 

In another moment, Khalid – who also appeared in the 2007 film The Kite Runner, and as Al Qaeda member Ziad Jarrah in the 2006 film United 93 – could be seen messing around with Connie 

In 2012, film producer Lord Puttnam claimed he ordered Dodi off the set of Chariots Of Fire after he tried to give the cast cocaine. 

Key historical moments involving the Royal Family between 1999 and 2003

The last two series of The Crown will cover the Royal Family in the 1990s to 2003. Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the key historical moments involving the Royal Family which occurred during that time… 

 1999: The marriage of the Queen’s son Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex: The wedding took place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. 

2000: The Queen celebrates the Millennium: Millennium celebrations take place throughout the UK. The Millennium Dome in London is officially opened by HM The Queen on January 1.    

2001: Queen Elizabeth reacts to 9/11 terrorist attacks: A week after the tragedy she sent a message to the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer to offer her condolences. 

2002: The Queen’s Golden Jubilee: The Queen celebrated the milestone on February 6 and it was an international event to mark the 50th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.  

2002: The Queen dines at 10 Downing Street with the five living former Prime Ministers who served under her. She met with Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and Edward Heath.

2002: The death of Princess Margaret: The Queen’s younger sister dies after suffering a stroke aged 71. The pair had had a troubled relationship after The Queen said she couldn’t marry her love Peter Townsend. 

2002: The Queen Mother dies: She passed away aged 101 at Royal Lodge Windsor. 

‘Dodi had other things on his mind than developing a film career for himself, of which girls and drugs rated pretty highly – and not necessarily in that order,’ he said.

Puttnam arrived one day to find  a number of cast members whose mood had clearly been altered by what he suspects was cocaine provided by Dodi.

‘I said to Dodi, “With the best will in the world, Dodi, this didn’t happen. And I never want to see you again around my cast and crew.” It was very unpleasant,’ said Puttnam.

The story was leaked to Dodi’s father. ‘It upset him terribly,’ said Puttnam. 

‘Al Fayed had spent a huge amount of his life dealing with his son’s problems and trying to contain them.  So maybe he found it difficult now that it was out in the open. It was all very sad.’  

Though he will always be remembered as the man who died beside Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997, Dodi was a little-known playboy at the time of the film’s making in 1981.

Al Fayed had set up the film production company Allied Stars for his son and it was this company that provided nearly £2 million to finance the early development of Chariots Of Fire.

Puttnam said: ‘He was one of the laziest human beings I’ve ever come across. So the idea of him being an executive producer was always going to be hopeless because he had the attention span of the average flea.’

The film told the story of Eric Liddell, the Scottish sprinter and devout Christian who withdrew from the men’s 100m sprint after learning the heats fell on a Sunday.

Though the 100m was Liddell’s best event, he trained instead for the 400m – which he famously won. Puttnam referred to the film as his ‘proudest achievement’. 

His unlikely partnership with the Fayeds was forged by chance. 

Puttnam hit on the idea of working on a film about the Olympic Games, inspired by his father Len who had worked as picture editor at the Associated Press news agency and was responsible for images during the 1948 Olympics. 

During research Puttnam stumbled upon Liddell’s story. It just happened that Al Fayed’s lawyer at Allied Stars had attended Eltham College with Liddell and became determined to make a film about his hero.  

Meanwhile extras wearing white shorts and t-shirts could be seen standing barefoot on the sand at the beach in order to recreate Chariots of Fire 


When the movie opened in 1981, there were mixed reviews and poor audiences at the single London cinema where it was first shown (pictured left and right) 

‘So enthusiastic was the lawyer about the project that it all got nasty at one stage because Al Fayed began to suspect, and quite wrongly, that there was some sort of malpractice afoot,’ said Puttnam. 

‘He felt he was being railroaded into investing in a doomed project about two sprinters with no sex, no beautiful women and not a fast car in sight.’ 

When the movie opened in 1981, there were mixed reviews and poor audiences at the single London cinema where it was first shown.

‘I was on holiday in Cornwall and phoned the box office every two hours,’ said Puttnam. 

‘The second afternoon performance, I was told, had been only one-third full. “Well, that’s it,” I thought. “It’s over.” 

‘But then an extraordinary thing happened. Audience figures peaked the longer the film was showing.  In America, audiences got younger and younger as the attendances grew. Slowly, we had a global hit on our hands.’


Khalid’s Dodi was dressed casually in the scene, wearing a heavy brown overcoat and denim jeans, which he paired with brown boots (pictured) 

It is unknown exactly what scene was being filmed from Princess Diana’s life, or whether the Netflix series is once again taking artistic license with the late royal. Pictured, Salim Daw when on set


The actor was dressed in a smart navy overcoat with a blue blazer and white polo neck, as well as dark sunglasses, for the scene 

At one stage, the actor removed his sunglasses as he gestured wildly during the filming at Camber Sands earlier this week (pictured) 


During the filming, Mohamed could be seen resting a gloved hand on the shoulder of his son (pictured) 

Later, Mohamed removed his sunglasses and appeared to shrug his hands animatedly as he and Dodi watched the actor of the movie set 

Meanwhile extras could also be seen acting as a film crew to capture the action for the film Chariots of Fire 


Later, it appeared the three men exchanged words as they prepared for further scenes on the beach 

Eventually Chariots Of Fire took £26million at US box offices alone – and Al Fayed made a reported £6.5million (pictured) 

Eventually Chariots Of Fire took £26million at US box offices alone – and Al Fayed made a reported £6.5million.

Dodi actor Khalid Abdalla will appear opposite Elizabeth Debicki who is set to take over the role of Princess Diana for The Crown’s fifth and sixth seasons, with Netflix confirming in September that the series will return in November 2022. 

Ahead of landing the role, Khalid appeared in the 2007 film The Kite Runner, and also appeared as Al Qaeda member Ziad Jarrah in the 2006 film United 93, which depicted the events aboard United Airlines Flight 93, one of four plans hijacked during the September 11 attacks. 

Khalid has been seen on the set of the hit TV show just once before this – and on that occasion, he wore a mask the entire time. 

Earlier this summer, the British actor was spotted arriving to film scenes for the Netflix alongside his wife Cressida Trew and Welsh actress Erin Richards as they boarded a replica of the mogul’s famous £170,000 superyacht in Marbella. 

After arriving at the port for a day of filming, Khalid was seen boarding a small speedboat to make his way to the yacht, which no doubt will perfectly replicate the extravagant wealth of the Fayed family.

The actor was in high spirits as he embraced his co-star Erin, whose role in the series is not yet known, while the boat took them to the entrance of the vast Titania yacht where they’d be filming.

The Titania, which boasts seven cabins and can sleep up to 12 guests, is typically available to rent for £474,363 ($643,000) per week in the summer, and will act as a stand-in for Fayed’s actual yacht. 

The latest shots of the set come days after The Crown became the latest victim of Covid.

Filming of the new series was halted on Wednesday after at least eight crew members tested positive, a source close to the Netflix hit told the Daily Mail.

New shots of the set come days after T he Crown became the latest victim of Covid. Filming of the new series was halted on Wednesday after at least eight crew members tested positive, a source close to the Netflix hit told the Daily Mail


Days ago, the cast could be seen on Camber Sands as they filmed scenes from Chariots of Fire for the fifth series of the Netflix show 

On Thursday night, Netflix confirmed: ‘The Crown finished filming one day earlier than planned for the Christmas break following a few positive cases within the team, thus ensuring others’ safety and so that everyone on production can enjoy a festive break with their loved ones’

On Thursday night, Netflix confirmed: ‘The Crown finished filming one day earlier than planned for the Christmas break following a few positive cases within the team, thus ensuring others’ safety and so that everyone on production can enjoy a festive break with their loved ones.’

The coronavirus outbreak on set comes after Bertie Carvel, 44, and Lydia Leonard, 40, were pictured for the first time as Tony Blair and wife Cherie in Kent on Tuesday.

The actor bore a striking resemblance to the former PM as The Crown filmed the Blairs casting their votes in the 1997 election that swept labour to power.

It marked a poignant moment as Tony, then 43, became the youngest person to be prime minister since Lord Liverpool became PM aged 42 in 1812.

The scene, filmed in Kent rather than County Durham, showed Tony and Cherie setting off to vote with their three children; daughter Kathryn and sons Nicky and Euan, in tow.

The cast wore near identical costumes to those that the Blairs wore when walking to the Community Centre in Trimdon Colliery, with Bertie rocking a bouffant wig and red tie, and production bringing in a huge cast of journalists and photographers to recreate the media frenzy.

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