Netflix’s “The Crown” has spilled the royal tea for three seasons without anyone calling for the critically acclaimed drama series to separate fact from fiction.
But the show’s fourth season has inched closer to modern day by introducing characters such as the late Princess Diana and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as it documents a period of major tumult in the House of Windsor. And suddenly everybody’s up in arms.
Still, the streaming service said it has faith that its viewers realize much of the drama on the series is fictionalized.
“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,” Netflix said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
“As a result we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.”
The statement arrived days after various prominent British figures called on Netflix to add a warning label of sorts before each episode to make it clear that what comes next isn’t entirely historically accurate.
Oliver Dowden — the British secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport — has lead the charge and said he planned to contact the media giant about adding a disclaimer.
“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 U.K. Daily Mail newspaper in a story published in November. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
Dowden echoed the complaints of Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother, who expressed concern that viewers might “forget that it is fiction”
“The worry for me is that people see a program like that, and they forget that it is fiction,” he said on the British morning show “Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh” last month. “They assume, especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched ‘The Crown’ as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.”
He added: “I feel it is my duty to stand up for [Diana] when I can.” Spencer said that he feels he has an obligation to “honor her memory.”
“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan has long been outspoken about striking a delicate balance when dramatizing the lives of the royals.
“You have to constantly ask yourself where you stand in truth and accuracy and what the responsibility of that is,” Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. A team of researchers makes painstaking effort to accurately capture the truth of every scene, he added.
Season 5 of the Netflix drama is expected to kick off production next year, with Imelda Staunton assuming the role of Queen Elizabeth for the show’s final two seasons.
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