Judi Dench slams ‘The Crown’ for ‘damaging’ study of royals

Actress Judi Dench is likely to hit skip on the next season of Netflix’s The Crown. In an open letter to the British newspaper The Times, the Oscar winner dismissed the Emmy-winning series as “inaccurate and hurtful”.

“As drama draws nearer to our present day, art seems more willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism,” Dench wrote in her letter, titled “The Crown is crude and . . cruel, says Dame Judi Dench.”

Weeks before the debut of the hit show’s fifth season, the ‘Belfast’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ actress said she was concerned that viewers, especially those overseas, might not appreciate the streamer’s “brilliant but fictional portrayal” of the royal family as “completely and utterly true.”

Since its debut in 2016, The Crown has followed key milestones in the history of the British monarchy, including the accession of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Season 5, out November 9, will further explore Princess Diana’s time as king .

Dench, who was honored with the rank of dame by the British monarchy in 1988, said the upcoming chapter of The Crown contains “wounding suggestions” about the upbringing of newly crowned King Charles and the relationship with his mother.

“This is both cruelly unfair to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent,” Dench added.

The actor’s sentiments were similar to those of former Prime Minister John Major, who dismissed the series as a “barrel load of nonsense” over the weekend. Responding to Major, who is portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller in the series, Netflix doubled down on its claim that the series “was always presented as a drama based on historical events.”

Following an earlier backlash from UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden in November 2020, Netflix has said it will not include a disclaimer in its episodes reminding viewers that The Crown is fictional. Dench, who said there is no “greater believer in artistic liberty than I am,” wrote that “the time has come for Netflix to reconsider its decision on the disclaimer.”

Netflix officials did not immediately respond to the Times request for comment.

“For the benefit of a family and a nation who have recently mourned, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who has served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to uphold her reputation in the eyes of her British subscribers,” she concluded letter .

Dench was, of course, referring to Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September aged 96 at her summer home in Balmoral, Scotland. “As a mark of respect,” Netflix paused production on Season 6 of The Crown.

“’The Crown’ is a declaration of love [Queen Elizabeth] and I have nothing to add for now, just silence and respect,” series creator and writer Peter Morgan told Deadline. “I assume we’ll stop filming out of respect, too.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-10-20/judi-dench-the-crown-netflix-damaging-inaccurate-hurtul Judi Dench slams ‘The Crown’ for ‘damaging’ study of royals

Sarah Ridley

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