Actors from the fifth series of the hit Netflix show The Crown have defended the show’s direction following widespread criticism of “crude sensationalism”.
In a conversation with BBC News during the new fifth series premiere, Dominic West said: “I think a lot of people are very sensitive about the show since the Queen died”.
The actor, famed for his role in the HBO drama The Wire, portrays Prince Charles in the new series. He added: “A lot of people are worried about what will be in it, but I don’t think they need to be”.
The latest series of the hit programme focuses on the Royal family during a particularly turbulent period in the 1990s. Since the first airing, high-profile figures in the entertainment industry, including Dame Judi Dench, have urged Netflix to add a disclaimer reminding viewers that some scenes are exaggerated for dramatic effect.
In a letter to the Times, Dench said Netflix “seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism”.
Sir John Major, who was the UK’s prime minister between 1990 and 1997, also chimed in, describing a scene in which Prince Charles has a conversation with him about the Queen abdicating as “malicious nonsense”.
In response to such criticisms, Netflix have added the handle “fictional dramatisation” to the trailer for the new series. “I think it’s been misrepresented in the press, and it’s a big fuss about nothing,” retorted Jonny Lee Miller, who plays Sir John in The Crown.
With the new series airing just two months after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it’s understandable that The Crown will draw more attention than the previous series, both critically and otherwise. Filming for the show’s sixth series was paused out of respect during the period of national mourning in September following the monarch’s death.
Imelda Staunton, the third actress to play the late Queen in The Crown, told the BBC that the drama should be viewed as “still history” because it was set 30 years ago. She added that she felt “hugely honoured” to follow in Claire Foy’s and Olivia Colman’s footsteps to honour the memory of the UK’s most cherished monarch.
Speaking at a press conference Jonathan Pryce, who plays Prince Philip, said: “People will gain a bit of comfort seeing her embodied again.” He told the BBC’s David Sillito that the series “sets out to humanise the Royal Family and allow us to experience some of the emotion they had.”
The new fifth series focuses on the marital breakdown between the Prince and Princess of Wales at the time. Watch the official trailer below.