Netflix should add a disclaimer to The Crown making clear to its 195M subscribers that the royal drama is partly a work of fiction, according to the UK government.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has piled pressure on the streamer to address historic fabrications in its flagship series, which is penned by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Dowden said: “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.”
The minister, who plans to write to Netflix this week outling his concerns, added: “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
He is right in that many factual dramas will add disclaimers about creative license being taken with historic events. The Crown has not shied away from warnings in Season 4, flagging scenes featuring Princess Diana’s bulimia.
Dowden’s intervention comes amid growing disquiet at The Crown’s alternate history, with Morgan often embellishing real-life events for dramatic effect.
Only this week, Season 4 was called out by Australian broadcaster ABC for putting words into the mouth of former prime minister Bob Hawke alongside a number of other historical inaccuracies.
Morgan heightened a real-life interview Hawke did with current affairs show 4 Corners, emphasizing the ex-PM’s skepticism for the royal family by having him refer to the Queen as a “pig.” In reality, he never uttered such words.
Elsewhere, Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has been among those to voice concern about the show after Emma Corrin portrayed his late sister.
“Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t,” he told ITV last weekend. “It is very hard, there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact.”
Netflix did not immediately respond to Deadline’s request for comment on Dowden’s remarks.
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