This week marked the release of the fifth season of hit Netflix royal drama The Crown – and the new run has certainly not been without its controversies.

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One area of the show that has come under particular backlash is the decision to dramatise the infamous 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana, which journalist Martin Bashir was ruled to have obtained using "deceitful" means by the 2021 Lord Dyson inquiry.

The report also led to the BBC declaring that the interview would no longer be aired by the broadcaster, and because of this, some viewers – including royal biographer Hugo Vickers – have criticised the decision to feature a recreation of it in the series.

But actor Prasanna Puwanarajah, who plays Bashir in the series (a role he also played in the 2013 film Diana) has defended the decision to include the scenes, although he says the reaction from some people is "understandable".

“I think it's completely understandable," he said in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com. "We all are very aware of the complexities around a dramatisation like this.

"I think Peter’s work on this programme from season 1 has always been watchful and careful. And so I think there's a space that the show is in, which is about trying to unpick and trying to look at the human spaces in between the things that we know, which is just the function of drama."

Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the television program Panorama
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace. Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

He added: "It’s stuff that is interesting for people to consider, the ways in which a family that they think they know might be quite similar to their own, for example.

"I think that the show has actually enlarged an emotional understanding around the royal family, and humanised things, which is interesting because I guess in the middle of the century or in the '60s and '70s, it was something that the royal family themselves realised that they had to do to connect to people.

"I absolutely see it both ways. I think it's an important thing to be acknowledging, definitely.”

Additional reporting by Abby Robinson.

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The Crown seasons 1-5 are available to stream on Netflix now. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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