U.K. culture secretary says “The Crown” should warn viewers the show is fictional – CBS News

Britain’s culture secretary said Sunday that the popular Netflix series “The Crown” should include a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode explaining it is not “fact.” The show is based on the lives of the British royal family, but the latest season is set during the 1980s, and many of the main characters are still alive. 

“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,” culture secretary Oliver Dowden told the Mail on Sunday. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

Dowden said he plans to write a letter to Netflix. The latest season of “The Crown” has shown a warning before certain episodes about its portrayal of eating disorders.

Dowden is not the only person to call for a disclaimer on “The Crown.” Earl Spencer, the brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, told British broadcaster ITV the show should warn viewers that it takes artistic license with actual events.

“I think it would help ‘The Crown’ an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that: ‘This isn’t true but it is based around some real events,'” he said.  

Others in royal circles have gone further, saying the show does not accurately portray reality and royal sources told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that Prince Charles refuses to watch the latest season. 

Former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond said she feared some viewers might treat the show “as a documentary.”

“The difficulty is knowing which is the truth and which isn’t — particularly for the younger generation who haven’t lived through this,” she said. “They’re going to believe what they see, they’re going to see this as a documentary. We have to remember it’s a drama.”  

Former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter told the BBC the latest season is “stretching dramatic license to the extreme.”

“It’s a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana,” Arbiter told the BBC. “You have to ask, is it necessary?”  

The fourth season captures not just Charles and Diana’s tumultuous marriage, but also Margaret Thatcher’s time as prime minister. Authorized Thatcher biographer Charles Moore told CBS News’ Jeff Glor that the show does not accurately portray Thatcher’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth.

“In personal terms, it gets it wrong with Mrs. Thatcher and the Queen,” Moore said. “Because it shows something that never happened, which is rudeness.”