Netflix's The Crown has in previous years been criticised for its fictionalisation of events alongside real history and individuals. This criticism has become particularly pronounced in the lead-up to the fifth season, which will be released by the streamer in November.


One name who has now added her own concerns on this topic is none other than Dame Judi Dench, who has accused the series of "crude sensationalism".

In a letter to The Times, Dench said: "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. 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 went on to say that while The Crown is a "brilliant but fictionalised account of events", a "significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true".

The Crown season 5: The Queen
Imelda Staunton as The Queen in The Crown season 5. Netflix

Dench said: "No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged," before suggesting that an explicit disclaimer should additionally be put "at the start of each episode".

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Currently the series page for The Crown on Netflix says that it is "inspired by real events" but is a "fictional dramatisation", although this is not shown during the episodes.

Dench said that to add a disclaimer each episode would be 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".

Dench's criticism comes after former Prime Minister John Major, who is played in the series by Jonny Lee Miller, called it "a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum – and entirely false – dramatic impact".

Major was reacting to reports that an upcoming scene sees him called to a meeting with the then-Prince of Wales, who then secretly schemes to oust the Queen.

Reached for comment by, a Netflix spokesperson said: "The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.

"Series 5 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."

The Crown season 5 will be released on 9th November 2022 and you can watch seasons 1-4 right now on Netflix.

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.


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