Dame Judi Dench has accused Netflix series The Crown of 'crude sensationalism' and said the series about the royal family is 'cruelly unjust'.
In a letter to The Times newspaper, the Oscar winner called on the streaming platform to add a disclaimer to each episode of the programme reminding viewers that it is a 'fictionalised drama'. She says this would not only be a mark of respect for the late Queen, but would also "preserve their [Netflix] own reputation in the eyes of their British subscribers.”
She writes: “The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.”
“Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series — that King Charles plotted for his mother to abdicate, for example, or once suggested his mother’s parenting was so deficient that she might have deserved a jail sentence — this is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent,” Dench wrote.
She went on: “No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged. Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a ‘fictionalised drama’ the programme makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode.
In response, the streaming service has said: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events. Series Five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family — one that has been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.
Despite Dench's close relationship with the royal family, it is through that the letter had not been prompted by Buckingham Palace.
It has been reported that those close to the King are concerned about the effect the programme could have on his reputation - especially as the forthcoming series details the breakdown of his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.