Britain’s culture secretary said on Sunday that the popular Netflix series “The Crown” should include a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, stating that it was not a “fact”. The show is based on the life of the British royal family, but the latest season is set during the 1980s, and many of the main characters are still alive.
“This is a beautifully constructed work of imagination, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear in the beginning,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the Sunday Mail. “Without it, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake for fact.”
Dowden said that he planned to write a letter to Netflix. The latest season of “The Crown” featured a warning before a few episodes about the depiction of eating disorders.
Dowen is not the only person to call for a disclaimer on “Crown”. Earl Spencer, brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, told British broadcaster ITV that the show should warn viewers that it takes artistic license alongside real events.
“I think it would help ‘The Crown’ in a huge amount if, at the beginning of each episode, he said that: ‘It’s not true but it’s based around some real events,” he said.
Others in royal circles have moved on, stating that the show does not portray reality accurately and royal sources told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that Prince Charles refuses to watch the latest season.
Former BBC royal correspondent Jenny Bond said she feared some viewers might regard the show as a “documentary”.
“The difficulty is knowing which is true and which is not – especially for the younger generation who do not live through this,” she said. “They are going to believe what they see, they are going to see it as a documentary. We have to remember that this is a play.”
Dickie Arbiter, former Buckingham Palace press secretary, told the BBC that the latest season was “pushing theatrical license to its peak.”
“It’s a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a little hat-trick job on Diana,” the arbiter told the BBC. “You have to ask, is this necessary?”
The fourth season captured not only the marriage of Charles and Diana, but also Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. Thatcher Authorized BiographerThe show does not accurately portray Thatcher’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth.
“In personal terms, it goes wrong with Mrs. Thatcher and the Queen,” Moore said. “Because it shows something that has never happened, which is rudeness.”