Judi Dench slams ‘The Crown’ for ‘hurtful’ portrayal of royals

Dame Dench is also asking Netflix to add a disclaimer emphasizing that the series is a work of fiction.

Dame Judi Dench asks Netflix to firmly declare that “The Crown” is a “fictional drama” series.

Dench shared a letter with UK’s The Times (via Deadline), in which the Oscar winner slammed the series for presenting an “inaccurate and hurtful retelling of history” without a formal label of being a work of fiction. In her article, she cited former Prime Minister John Major’s recent criticism of a Season 5 episode suggesting that in 1991 Prince Charles (now King Charles III) complained to Major for waiting to take the throne.

“Sir John Major is not alone in fearing that the final season of ‘The Crown’ will present an inaccurate and hurtful retelling of history,” Dench wrote. “Given some of the seemingly hurtful suggestions in the new series – that King Charles plotted for his mother to abdicate, for example, or once suggested that his mother’s parenting was so deficient that she might have deserved a prison sentence – it is both cruelly unfair to individuals and damaging to the institution they represent. No one believes in artistic freedom more than I do, but that cannot go unchallenged.

Dench continued, “Despite this week publicly declaring that ‘The Crown’ has always been a ‘fictional drama’, program makers have resisted all calls asking them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode. Now is the time for Netflix to reconsider — for the sake of a family and nation so recently bereaved, as a sign of respect for a sovereign who has served his people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve his reputation in the eyes of its British Subscribers.

Major said no conversations between Charles and himself, as shown on the show, took place. He later called the episode “malicious nonsense”. Royal insiders have previously said the family believes Season 5 is “exploitative” because it also centers on Charles (Dominic West)’s marriage to Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki).

The final two seasons of “The Crown” span from the 1990s to 2003, with season 6 including the death of Princess Diana, which Netflix says won’t make it to the screen.

In 2020, the UK government asked “The Crown” to publish a disclaimer ahead of episodes. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the Daily Mail that ‘The Crown’ is a “beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the start, it’s just that. Without it, I fear that a generation of viewers who did not experience these events may confuse fiction with reality.

Netflix responded by saying at the time: “We have always presented ‘The Crown’ as a drama – and we believe our members understand that it is a work of fiction largely based on historical events. Accordingly, we do not intend – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”

This year, series creator Peter Morgan noted that ‘The Crown’ is a ‘love letter’ to Queen Elizabeth II, and production on the Netflix show even halted following the queen’s death. September 8.

Season 5 of “The Crown” is set to premiere on November 9.

Source: https://www.indiewire.com/2022/10/judi-dench-slams-the-crown-hurtful-royal-family-1234774386/