What Dame Judi Dench says, goes. Netflix has added a note to the YouTube description of the trailer for The Crown’s fifth season, categorically defining the series as a “fictional dramatization.” The change comes after Dench criticized the series for falling into “crude sensationalism” in recent years in an open letter published in the Sunday Times.
The new disclaimer reads: “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.”
In her letter, Dench urged viewers to remember that “a drama is not a documentary,” and chastised The Crown for specific instances of what she saw as irresponsible misrepresentation.
“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 wrote.
She continued: “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 its reputation in the eyes of its British subscribers.”
The updated description indicates that Netflix is willing to compromise despite the, well, far-fetched assertion that The Crown is remotely a documentary. Emma Corrin, who starred as Princess Diana in season 4, has previously defended the series as being “very clearly a dramatized version of events.”
“This is fictitious in the same way people don’t mistake Succession for what actually happened with the Murdochs,” Corrin told Variety’s Marc Malkin in a 2020 podcast episode. “I also understand [the request] comes from a place of sensitivity and protectiveness of the royal family and Diana.”