New season of ‘The Crown’ set to air after backlash

Through AFP

LONDON: The latest season of ‘The Crown’ hits the small screen next week, and streaming giant Netflix is ​​adding a disclaimer after an uproar over untrue storylines.

The fifth series, which premiered on Wednesday just over two months after the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of her son King Charles III. is broadcast, the action shifts to the 1990s.

Princess Diana’s bombastic television interview, emotional turmoil and divorce from Charles are all documented, along with his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and tensions with his mother.

However, it wasn’t clear how the series would deal with the death of Diana in a car accident in Paris in 1997, or if a disclaimer would be added before each episode.

Netflix added a description of the show as “inspired by real-life events” to its schedule page after outrage from celebrities like Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench and former British Prime Minister John Major last month.

Dench berated Netflix for “gross sensationalism” after reports showed scenes in which Charles maneuvered to force his mother’s abdication.

“No one believes in artistic freedom more than I do, but that cannot go unchallenged,” wrote Dench, who won an Academy Award for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love and was nominated for her portrayal of Queen Victoria. Mrs Brown”.

The strength of the criticism has forced Netflix to defend itself and screenwriter Peter Morgan.

It said the series shouldn’t be taken as fact, but as an idea of ​​”what could have happened behind closed doors.”

His stars have also rallied in his defense, with Diana actress Elizabeth Debicki urging people to move on, “now the disclaimer is up there”.

‘Good Drama’

“There’s a huge amount of room for interpretation,” said the Australian actress. “That’s good drama to me.”

Jonathan Pryce, who plays the Queen’s husband Prince Philip, even went so far as to criticize his fellow actors.

Pryce said he was “very disappointed in my fellow artists” after acting powerhouses Eileen Atkins and Harriet Walter, who both appeared in “The Crown,” expressed reservations.

“The vast majority of people know that this is drama. You’ve been watching it for four seasons,” Pryce said.

But with most of the royals pictured still alive and creative freedom evidently increased, even a disclaimer may fall short for critics who accuse Morgan of an undeclared anti-monarchist agenda.

TV critic Christopher Stevens, who watched an eight-and-a-half-hour preview, wrote this week that “the sheer virulence” of the latest storylines becomes “shockingly clear.”

The show, he said, is now unrecognizable compared to the first series back in 2016.

“The Crown” is now “an openly Republican polemic that uses embarrassment as its main weapon against the monarchy,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.


Writer and royal biographer William Shawcross said the storylines were deliberately hurtful attempts to damage the institution of the monarchy – “something appreciated by millions of ordinary people”.

“I think a lot of people do that (believe them), why wouldn’t they? You see this beautifully produced thing… Most people in the world don’t have any other scale. It’s terribly dishonest,” he told AFP.

He said Netflix took advantage of the unique position the royal family is in.

“Almost every other living family is able to complain, stop or sue. The royal family does not have the right or ability to do this,” he said.

However, Philip Murphy of the University of London’s Institute of Historical Research said the royal family’s plight was “partly” their own fault.

The palace had “made strenuous efforts to prevent historians from gaining access to records of the Queen’s 70-year reign,” he said in a letter to The Times.

“When scholars are unable to write an accurate history of the monarchy, the field is left to playwrights and those with a vested interest in divulging information,” he wrote.

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