Ex-British prime minister slams ‘The Crown’ as ‘malicious fiction’
Former British Prime Minister John Major has slammed “The Crown” as “damaging and malicious fiction” amid continuing backlash over the Netflix series’ historical inaccuracies.
Major, now 79, served as prime minister from 1990 to 1997, and will feature as a central character in the show’s upcoming fifth season.
Set for release next month, Season 5 will revolve around the exploits of the royal family over the course of the 1990s.
Major will be played by Jonny Lee Miller, with one episode set to show the PM meeting with Prince Charles, played by Dominic West. During their closed-door chat, Charles allegedly lobbies for Major to force Queen Elizabeth II to abdicate so that he can ascend to the throne.
“They are fiction, pure and simple,” Major told the Mail on Sunday of the show’s incendiary scenes, adding that no such meeting ever took place in real life.
His office further told the publication that the scenes “should be seen as nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction — a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum — and entirely false — dramatic impact.”
“The Crown” has defended itself against claims of historical inaccuracy, insisting that it has always “been presented as a drama based on historical events.”
A Netflix spokesperson told the Mail on Sunday, “Series five is a fictional dramatization, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family — one that has already been scrutinized and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”
The defense comes as another British politician lambasted the series as “trashy fiction.”
David Mellor, who served as the UK’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of State for National Heritage from 1990 to 1992, made the claim in an interview with “Good Morning Britain” on Monday.
Mellor claimed Major would never have entertained a meeting with Charles in regards to pressuring the Elizabeth to step down.
“He would not have been a party to what he would have regarded . . . as a treasonous discussion,” he declared. “I don’t think that Peter Morgan [creator of ‘The Crown’], who’s a very good writer, needs to resort to obvious trashy fiction in this.”
“The Crown” is not only under fire for its historical inaccuracies.
According to the Irish Sun, the series has “sparked fury” among some of the production crew for how it handles the death of Princess Diana — an event which will be depicted during the show’s fifth season.
“To be going back to Paris and turning Diana’s final days and hours into a drama feels very uncomfortable. Finally, some of the crew members are pushing back,” a source told the publication.
Diana died in 1997, at 36, following a car accident in Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel while she was being pursued by paparazzi.
“The show always tried to present a fictional version of royal history with as much sensitivity as possible,” the source told the Sun. “But lately, as things get closer to the present day, it feels harder to strike that balance. With some of those moments still so fresh and upsetting, it feels as though a line is being crossed.”
Another production source told Deadline that the car collision won’t be shown on-screen, but the events before and after the tragic event will be.
Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki will portray Princess Diana in the forthcoming season, while Queen Elizabeth II will be played by Imelda Staunton.
The series is set to hit Netflix on Nov. 9.