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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Netflix stands firm over fictionalisation of scenes in 'The Crown': 'We see no need to add disclaimer'

The streaming platform says it has always presented the show as a drama, amid calls for the series to carry a warning about historical accuracy

Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin as Prince Charles and Princess Diana in season four of 'The Crown'. Netflix 
Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin as Prince Charles and Princess Diana in season four of 'The Crown'. Netflix 

Netflix has rejected claims that The Crown needs to warn viewers it is a drama created with artistic licence, saying the platform's audience understands it's a "work of fiction".

The royal biopic, which charts Queen Elizabeth II's long-standing reign, has come under fire in recent weeks due to the inclusion of fictionalised scenes and controversial depictions of family members.

The furore led to Oliver Dowden, the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, revealing he planned to ask the streaming platform to add a disclaimer to the show, advertising it as fiction.

However, Netflix confirmed it has no plans to add such a warning.

"We have always presented The Crown as a drama, and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events," the platform told the Mail on Sunday.

"As a result, we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer."

Questions of historical fidelity were not a major issue during earlier seasons of the show, which debuted in 2016. But the fourth season, which premiered last month, is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade that many remember vividly. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and the late Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 traumatised the nation.

The troubled relationship of Prince Charles (played by Josh O’Connor), and Diana (portrayed by Emma Corrin), is a major storyline in the series, and has been criticised by Diana's family.

Her brother, Charles Spencer, previously said the show should carry a notice that “this isn’t true, but it is based around some real events".

He told broadcaster ITV: “I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair."

Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in seasons three and four of the show, also gave her backing for a disclaimer, saying the show had a “moral responsibility” to tell viewers it is a drama.

“It is dramatised. I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say: ‘Hang on guys, this is not … it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.’ So they are two different entities," the actress stated in a Netflix podcast released on November 30.

Last month, the creator of The Crown defended inventing a controversial scene between Prince Charles and his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten in the latest season.

Peter Morgan admitted the opening episode features a fictional scene in which Mountbatten scolds the Prince of Wales for pursuing Camilla, who was married to Andrew Parker Bowles.

The Crown employs researchers, but has always made clear some events are embellished for entertainment.

Updated: December 6, 2020 02:29 PM

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