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Judi Dench criticises The Crown for ‘crude sensationalism’

94th Academy Awards (Oscars) – Red Carpet Arrivals
Judi Dench

Judi Dench has called out producers of The Crown for presenting “an inaccurate and hurtful account of history”.

Last week, former U.K. prime minister John Major called a scene in the upcoming fifth series of the Netflix programme that apparently depicts a conversation between himself and Prince Charles, now King Charles III, to be a “barrel-load of malicious nonsense”.

In response to the accusation, a representative for the streaming service insisted The Crown has always been a “fictional dramatisation”.

Now, Dench has weighed in on the debate over the representation of the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II – who died at the age of 96 last month – in the popular show.

“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,” she wrote in an open letter to The Times. “While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true.”

Dench went on to urge Netflix executives to add a disclaimer to the start of each episode.

“No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged. 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,” the 87-year-old continued. “The time has come for Netflix to reconsider – for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve its reputation in the eyes of its British subscribers.”

The fifth season of The Crown, featuring Imelda Staunton as The Queen, is set to be released on 9 November.

– Cover Media