UK Govt. Says ‘The Crown’ Viewers Should Be Warned Netflix Show Is Fiction, Not Fact

FILE - In this file photo dated Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, a man wearing a face mask walks past a billboard advertising 'The Crown' television series about Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family, during England's second coronavirus lockdown, in London. Britain’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden in a newspaper …
AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE

The UK culture secretary wants the creators behind the TV series ‘The Crown,’ based on the lives of the Royal Family, to include a warning for viewers up front indicating the show is fiction and not a factual documentary.

“I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact,” Oliver Dowden told the Mail on Sunday.

“Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

Dowden is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his view. Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to a report by The Associated Press.

The fourth series of the drama, which stars Olivia Colman as the Queen, has attracted criticism from some quarters for its depiction of royal events, in particular the breakdown of the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The Mail on Sunday has led calls for a disclaimer to be added to the series lest people think they are watching a documentary rather than an interpretative piece of fiction.

Earl Spencer, brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, previously told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly he was worried some viewers would take the storylines “as gospel,” the BBC reports.

“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.

‘The Crown’ creator Peter Morgan, whose work also includes recent-history dramas ‘The Queen’ and ‘Frost/Nixon,’ has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.

But former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter has accused the show of “stretching dramatic licence to the extreme”.

“It’s a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana,” Mr Arbiter told the BBC.

And former royal correspondent Jennie Bond told the BBC Newscast podcast she feared some viewers might treat the show “as a documentary”.

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