Netflix’s historical drama series is returning for its fifth season in November.
The new run of episodes will jump forward to the Nineties with a new cast playing the royal family. They will reportedly depict the breakdown of King Charles III’s marriage to Princess Diana.
It is also rumoured to show Charles requesting then-prime minister John Major’s support for the Queen’s abdication.
While Netflix has always insisted that its viewers know the show is a work of fiction, there has been much discussion in recent years about whether subscribers should be told this when they tune in.
When the fourth season of the historical drama dropped in 2020, then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that the streamer should add a “health warning” to the series, reminding viewers that it was not fact.
However, Netflix said that they would not be doing so at the time, explaining: “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.
“As a result, we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”
Here are all the public figures who have called on Netflix to add a disclaimer to The Crown…
Helena Bonham Carter
She may have starred in The Crown as Princess Margaret, but even Helena Bonham Carter has suggested that the Netflix series should come with a disclaimer.
In a 2020 interview, the actor pointed out that there is a distinction between “our version” and the “real version” of royal history.
“It is dramatised,” she said. “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.”
Tory MP Oliver Dowden was culture secretary when the last season of The Crown was released and said that Netflix should be adding a warning to the series.
Calling it “a beautifully produced work of fiction”, Dowden said that “Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that”.
“Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact,” he said.
Another actor to criticise The Crown is Judi Dench, who called it a work of “crude sensationalism” and slammed Netflix’s refusal to add a factual disclaimer.
“No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged,” Dench said.
“Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a ‘fictionalised drama’ the programme makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode.”
Dench argued that the “time has come for Netflix to reconsider” adding a disclaimer before the new series arrives, following the Queen’s death last month.
However, fans of the series were quick to point out that Dench is friends with King Charles and the Queen Consort, Camilla Parker Bowles.
Following Dench’s comments, Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway said that she could “see her point”.
“It’s that blurring between fiction and history that The Crown does so beautifully actually,” the presenter said.
“But you can see why she’d say, hang on, if they’re admitting that things are completely made up, if you like, because nobody knew what happened, then it’s quite unfair at this time. You can see her point, can’t you?”
The Crown season five arrives on Netflix on Wednesday 9 November.
Original posted at www.independent.co.uk