Netflix defends 'fictional dramatisation' The Crown amid criticism over royal depictions

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Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 17/10/2022

- 07:59

Sir John Major has criticised the show as it prepares to launch its fifth series

Netflix has defended The Crown as a “fictional dramatisation” amid criticism of its upcoming fifth series.

Sir John Major is said to have described upcoming scenes, which reportedly depict the King, then the Prince of Wales, plotting to oust the Queen, as “malicious nonsense”.

The new series, which will launch on November 9, is expected to show the King cutting short a holiday with Diana, Princess of Wales to host a secret meeting with former prime minister Sir John at Highgrove in 1991.

The Crown has become a highly popular production.
The Crown has become a highly popular production.
Ian West

For the forthcoming series of the lavish royal drama, which features recast roles, Dominic West stars as the King, while Elizabeth Debicki plays Diana and Imelda Staunton the Queen.

A spokeswoman for The Crown 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 already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”

Oliver Dowden urged Netflix to add a disclaimer to the show.
Oliver Dowden urged Netflix to add a disclaimer to the show.
Gonzalo Fuentes

A spokesperson for Sir John, played by Jonny Lee Miller in the series, previously told The Times that if the scenes are broadcast “they should be seen as nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction”.

The fourth series of the lavish Netflix drama also attracted criticism for allegedly not doing enough to ensure viewers knew it was a work of fiction.

Oliver Dowden, the then culture secretary, asked Netflix to add a disclaimer to episodes, a request the company rejected.

Although there is no disclaimer on the individual episodes, when viewers tune in on the service the show is labelled with a “log line” as a fictional drama based on historical events.

The Crown was due to end after the fifth series, but the show’s creator and writer Peter Morgan later said it will be extended to include a sixth series.

Filming on the latest series of The Crown was halted as a mark of respect after the Queen’s death. Filming was also suspended on the day of her funeral.

It was previously revealed that series five of the show would delve into Diana’s now infamous Panorama interview with journalist Martin Bashir.

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