U.K. culture secretary warns The Crown should not be mistaken for fact
Oliver Dowden joins royal commentators in opinion that the Netflix series greatly stretches the truth.
On Sunday, the U.K.'s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, suggested that each episode of the Netflix royal drama should begin with a disclaimer stating that the show is not factual. "It's a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that," Dowden told the Mail on Sunday in an interview. "Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact."
The fourth season of The Crown follows the life of the royal family during the 1980s, which means many of the main characters' real-life counterparts are still living. The new episodes focus mostly on Prince Charles (played by Josh O'Connor on the show) and Princess Diana's (Emma Corrin) strained marriage, as well as Margaret Thatcher's (portrayed by Gillian Anderson) years in office as prime minister, at times, butting heads with Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman).
Dowden — who plans to write to Netflix on the topic — is not alone in this school of thought. Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana, has also made clear he believes the series should warn viewers that it takes artistic license with actual events. "I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that: 'This isn't true but it is based around some real events,'" he said during an interview with British broadcaster ITV.
Former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond, former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter, and Thatcher biographer Charles Moore have also all spoken out about what they believe to be the show's loose grasp of the truth. Bond reminded viewers the show is not a documentary but a drama, while Arbiter claimed season 4 was "stretching dramatic license to the extreme."
Season 4 of The Crown is now streaming on Netflix.