Judi Dench calls for Netflix to include a disclaimer for The Crown, accuses show of ‘crude sensationalism’

The fifth season of The Crown is about to premiere but Dame Judi Dench wants the streamer to make some changes.

Judi Dench

The fifth season of The Crown, one of Netflix’s flagship series, is about to premiere but Dame Judi Dench wants the streamer to make some changes.

In a letter to The Times, Dench calls for Netflix to include a disclaimer before each episode, to clearly state that it’s a work of fiction. 

Earlier this week, Sir John Major, a former prime minister, portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller in the upcoming season of The Crown, also took offence to how certain events are portrayed in the series. 

The new season includes scenes between Major and the Prince of Wales, now King Charles, in which they engage in secret conversations. Major’s office said such scenes involving him “should be seen as nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction”

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Jonny Lee Miller as Sir John Major in The Crown season 5. Credit: Netflix

Netflix responded to Major’s concerns by stating that the series 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.”

In her letter, Dench says The Crown seems to “blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.” Dench notes that particularly overseas viewers may mistake the events shown in The Crown as the truth. 

While noting that she’s a believer in artistic freedom, Dench concludes her letter: “The time has come for Netflix to reconsider — for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve its reputation in the eyes of its British subscribers.”

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Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki as Charles and Diana in season 5 of The Crown. Credit: Netflix

There are currently no individual disclaimers for episodes of The Crown, the show’s summary states: “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.”

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