19 May 2022

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One more season of “The Crown” to come but Netflix will not include a disclaimer
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One more season of “The Crown” to come but Netflix will not include a disclaimer

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It’s a dangerous policy to issue a fictional drama about living people without disclosing that it is just fiction

The “drama series”, The Crown, has certainly made an impact on viewers, particularly in the United Kingdom.

There will not be very many people alive today who will in fact remember events depicted in the early series; most who were would have been quite young but as the series has moved forward, more people will be able to relate directly to some of the events depicted. The show’s projection of the characters in the drama is in some cases remarkably similar to the real people – and don’t we know it!

As an avid watcher of the show, I feel no doubt that it is a programme of considerable quality, both in terms of the drama and the characters and indeed the locations portrayed. But isn’t there an issue over the fact that some, particularly younger people, may actually see it as a documentary? The basic plot, after all, is completely true. The story is based on real life events which have taken place, based on our country’s history. The portrayal of prime ministers like Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher can only be said to be brilliant!

But there is also no doubt that much of what is depicted in the show, if it happened at all, would have happened behind closed doors and whilst there may well have been numerous leaks of information at different levels over the years, much of it relating to the private lives of the royal family must nevertheless be speculation at best.

It is, when all is said and done, a work of fiction – a damned good one but speculative. And there is no shortage of critics who think that the whole thing has gone over the top with inaccurate portrayal of so-called facts. It is true that when you watch it, you think “gosh – I never really saw it that way” or “I didn’t realise that happened…”

So it is strange really that Netflix declines to publish any form of disclaimer pointing out that it is a work of fiction broadly based on historical certain known facts of the day. Would it do any harm? Indeed virtually every film which is made has some sort of disclaimer about the characters and story being fiction and not related to any person living or dead. Surely such a disclaimer would be all the more important given that many of the people depicted are in fact still alive, not least the central character herself who surely deserves some respect.

So we now await the fifth and last series of the drama but that will not appear until sometime in 2022.

Adrian Leopard 31-07-21

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