Dame Judi Dench has criticised The Crown, saying that she fears viewers “may take its version of history as being wholly true”.
In a letter to The Times , the 87-year-old icon branded the drama based around the lives of the royal family “cruelly unjust” and “damaging”. The actress went on to urge Netflix to consider putting a disclaimer on the show to inform viewers that the events depicted are fictionalised.
Her comments come after former Prime Minister Sir John Major voiced similar concerns ahead of the hit Netflix show’s fifth series, which is due to air on the platform on 9 November. The criticisms come amid reports of scenes that will feature in forthcoming episodes, which Dame Judi described as “wounding” and Sir John dubbed “malicious nonsense”.
“Sir John Major is not alone in his concerns that the latest series of The Crown will present an inaccurate and hurtful account of history,” Dame Judi wrote. “Indeed, the closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.”
The James Bond star added: “While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that it is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true.”
Dame Judi called for Netflix to include a disclaimer at the start of each episode of The Crown, saying that the fictionalised version of events expected to be depicted in the new series are “cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent.” The star added that a disclaimer should be shown “as a mark of respect” to the royal family following the death of Queen Elizabeth last month.
The upcoming series of The Crown sees the royal roles recast once again, with Imelda Staunton as the Queen and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Phillip. Meanwhile, Dominic West will depict the role of Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana.
A spokeswoman for The Crown previously said: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events. Series five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”