Matt Smith and Claire Foy have found themselves the subject of a gender pay gap debate recently, following the news that the former was paid more than the latter for his role in 'The Crown', despite Claire being the lead actor. Now producers have issued a formal apology for the stars' unwitting involvement in the controversy.

Matt Smith and Claire Foy at the premiere of 'The Crown' season 2Matt Smith and Claire Foy at the premiere of 'The Crown' season 2

Left Bank Pictures who produce the Netflix series have extended their apologies to their lead stars after Matt Smith finds himself under pressure by critics to donate his excess salary to a gender equality charity, much like 'All The Money in the World' star Mark Wahlberg.

'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', Left Bank Pictures said in a statement obtained by the Press Association. '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.'

It was revealed at a press conference by producer Suzanne Mackie that Claire Foy - who plays a young Queen Elizabeth II in the series - was paid less than her onscreen husband Matt Smith, with the justification that Matt was worth more because of his stint in 'Doctor Who'.

'Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen', Mackie was quoted as saying, though neither star will return in the next series, which is set to star Olivia Colman.

'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', Left Bank 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.'

More: Claire Foy paid less than Matt Smith?

The production company insist that it is part of 'company policy' to be involved with the Equal Representation for Actresses (ERA 50:50), and expressed their keenness to talk with the latest gender equality movement Times Up UK.