AceShowbiz - Judi Dench is not a fan of Netflix's "The Crown". The 87-year-old Oscar-winning actress wrote an open letter to The Times U.K. in which she criticized the hit series, which chronicles British royal family, for being "cruelly unjust" in its depiction of the royals.
In her letter, Dench wrote that "no one is a greater believer in artistic freedom" than her but "this cannot go unchallenged." She stressed, "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."
The actress, who portrayed Queen Victoria in the 1997 film "Mrs. Brown" as well as 2017's "Victoria & Abdul" and played Queen Elizabeth in 1998's "Shakespeare in Love", also penned that "while many will recognise 'The Crown' for the brilliant but fictionalized 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 - 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," Dench added.
She continued, "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."
Prior to this, U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also urged Netflix to put a disclaimer to the series since it's a work of fiction. The show was airing its fourth season at the time. "It's a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that," Dowden said back in 2020. "Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact."
In response to that, Netflix released a statement in which the streaming giant refused to add the disclaimer. "We have always presented 'The Crown' as a drama - and we have every confidence our members understand it's a work of fiction that's broadly based on historical events. As a result we have no plans - and see no need - to add a disclaimer," the statement read.