The Netflix series The Crown is a series very much based in reality, but the government the show follows would very much like to remind you that it’s mostly fiction. The Netflix drama, which recently saw its fourth season hit the streaming service, has seen some pressure from the UK government to add a disclaimer on its episodes that makes clear the show is a fictionalization of real events and not an historical reenactment of sorts.
UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has apparently put pressure on Netflix to make it more clear to viewers that The Crown, which is written by Peter Morgan, is based on actual events in the British monarchy but is dramatized for the sake of, well, a TV show. According to Deadline, Dowden has told other outlets that Netflix needs to make it more clear to viewers that significant parts of the show are fabricated for the screen.
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 outlining his concerns, added: “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
It’s a delicate situation for the UK government, of course, as The Crown is quite literally about the more dramatic and scandalous moments of the British monarchy. And Season 4 in particular is growing closer to the present and involves more people who are still alive to deal with those moments being portrayed to millions of people on a streaming drama. Much of the latest season, for example, deals with the relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Deadline also laid out some instances where portions of the show’s content have been fictionalized, or at least emphasized to heighten the drama on screen that historians say doesn’t match reality.
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.”
It’s unclear if Netflix will honor the UK government’s wishes, but it’s important to note the show isn’t immune to disclaimers. Several Season 4 episodes come with a warning that they depict an eating disorder and offer resources to those struggling with the same things that Dianna is shown battling on the show.
In an unrelated story, Netflix will also now pay tax on revenues made in the UK rather than channel it through the Netherlands.