Judi Dench slams Netflix series The Crown as ‘crude sensationalism’

Dame Judi Dench joins the recent chorus of naysayers who take umbrage with the Emmy Award-winning series The Crown‘s depiction of the royal family. In an open letter to the UK’s The Times, Dench slammed the series as “crude sensationalism” due to its depiction of specific moments and scenes she claims are purely fictional, reports Deadline.

Dench requested that Netflix, at the very least, start placing a disclaimer in front of every episode to note that the series is a “fictionalised drama.”

It’s not the first time someone has asked Netflix to put a disclaimer on this particular show, which has always been hotly contested by the royal family but more so than ever as it creeps closer to the modern timeline. Right now is also a particularly sensitive time due to the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away this past September after reigning for over 70 years.

Based on Dench’s letter and recent criticism from UK Prime Minister John Major, it sounds like one scene, in particular, that’s ruffling feathers features Prince Charles (who recently became King Charles III) specifically summoned Major to his quarters in 1991 to complain about how long he had to wait to take over the throne.

Major is adamant that no conversation between him and Charles regarding the Queen abdicating the throne ever took place.

Netflix has fired back at the critics, with a spokeswoman saying:

“Series five [of The Crown] 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.”

That said, Netflix also delayed the release of its upcoming documentary featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Megan, in the wake of these attacks on The Crown so it seems the streamer might be more nervous than the above statement lets on.

Judi Dench pens an open letter slamming The Crown season 5

Dench wrote that she did not appreciate how the Netflix series appears to blur the lines between historical accuracy and sensationalized drama for drama’s sake.

Regarding the aforementioned scene between Charles and Major, she wrote:

Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series – that King Charles plotted for his mother to abdicate, for example, or once suggested his mother’s parenting was so deficient that she might have deserved a jail sentence – this is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent.

You can read the entirety of Dench’s letter at the bottom of the Deadline article.

The Crown returns for its fifth season this November, and Entertainment Weekly calls the new season the “most controversial season yet,” which certainly seems like an apt description because the new season will depict Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ very public divorce.

The Crown season 5 premieres on November 19.

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