Judi Dench takes Netflix to task over its ‘crude sensationalism’ of the Royal Family on ‘The Crown’

Oct 23, 2022
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It seems that Netflix has managed to royally mess up its relationship with acclaimed Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench.

The 87-year-old actress pulled no punches in her open letter to The Times, lashing out at The Crown creators for their “inaccurate and harmful account of history” after it was reported that the upcoming season will depict Prince Charles plotting for the Queen’s abdication.

“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,” Dench wrote.

Dench’s letter also calls out the streaming giants for opting out of using a disclaimer stating that The Crown is a fictionalised drama, despite being previously advised to do so by the British government.

“While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that it is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true. Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series,” Dench’s letter reads.

“No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged.

“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 their own reputation in the eyes of their British subscribers.”


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Dench’s seething letter comes after a slew of complaints have been made about the show’s coming fifth season.

Former British Prime Minster, Sir John Major, called the show a “barrel-load of nonsense” while Royal biographer Hugo Vicker says The Crown “pervert the facts”, choosing to “clash incidents together which did more or less happen to create something which most certainly did not”.

Sharing similar sentiments is Royal author Andrew Roberts, who also told the Daily Mail there “ought to be a health warning attached” to The Crown “as cigarettes or other noxious and dangerous substances have”.

“I would suggest, ‘Despite high production values, this rubbish has no moral values’,” he said.


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While Charles’ alleged plot against the Queen is a shocker in itself, it’s not the only bombshell plotline being portrayed on the show.

The show’s highly anticipated fifth season will depict the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, “pursuing an affair” with socialite and close family friend Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull.

Per Tatler, the upcoming season of The Crown will reportedly show one episode with the Duke touching hands with the Countess while he confesses his “marriage problems”, saying that he and his wife have “grown in separate directions”.

The move again being poorly received by royal critics, with Majesty magazine’s editor Ingrid Seward calling the decision “in exceedingly bad taste”.

“This is fiction. There’s no way in a million years he’d discuss his marriage with anybody. The royals probably won’t watch it for their own sanity,” Seward said.

The Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter has even come out saying Netflix has been “very distasteful”.

“Coming just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip, this is very distasteful and, quite frankly, cruel rubbish,” Arbiter said.

“The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family.

“Netflix are not interested in people’s feelings.”

Buckingham Palace is also reportedly anxiously anticipating the premiere of the upcoming season with a senior source telling the Telegraph that the Palace has started to prepare for any damage The Crown season five might do to the Monarch’s image, affirming to the publication that the show is a “drama, not a documentary”.

Despite the countless negative responses, a spokesperson for Netflix has told the Telegraph that because season five was finished prior to the Queen’s death, no changes had or will be made.

The Crown season 5 is scheduled for streaming on Netflix on Wednesday, November 9, with the production of the show’s sixth and final season currently underway.

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