Judi Dench Calls Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ ‘Cruelly Unjust’ & ‘Damaging’

The Crown
Netflix, Getty Images

Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench is calling on Netflix to add a disclaimer to each episode of The Crown stating that it is a fictionalized version of historical events.

In an open letter to The Times UK, Dench writes, “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. No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged.”

Dench goes on to say, “Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a ‘fictionalized drama,’ the program makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode. 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.”

Following recent backlash, the official statement from a spokesperson for The Crown is that the Netflix series has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.” This comes after Sir John Major, who was Prime Minister of the U.K. from 1990 to 1997, criticized the series for its depiction of King Charles as “damaging, malicious fiction.”

According to Variety, a spokesperson said, “we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.”

The Crown, Season 5 Premiere, Wednesday, November 9, Netflix