Culture Secretary steps into row over The Crown
The Crown has drawn criticism over its fabricated script
A UK government minister has intervened in the controversy surrounding the portrayal of the royal family by the television streaming service Netflix.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has demanded that Netflix makes it clear that The Crown is fiction.
Mr Dowden added his voice to growing concern that fabricated scenes in the drama series, written by screenwriter Peter Morgan, are doing lasting damage to the monarchy and Prince Charles in particular and had led to a vicious campaign against Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The script includes the false suggestion that the affair between Charles and Camilla continued throughout his marriage to Diana, prompting the Princess’s brother Earl Spencer to add his voice to the calls for a disclaimer.
Clarence House was forced to restrict comments on its social media channels following trolling of the Duchess, including death threats.
Mr Morgan has been accused of using light entertainment to drive a republican agenda.
Mr Dowden is expected to write to Netflix to formally request that it adds what others have called a ‘health warning’ at the beginning of each episode.
“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,” he 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.”
Earl Spencer told ITV’s Lorraine show: “It would help The Crown an enormous amount if at the beginning of each episode it stated that ‘This isn’t true but is based around some real events’. Because then everyone would understand it’s drama for drama’s sake.”
The drama, now in its fourth series, has also upset friends of the late Prime Minister Lady Thatcher over claims she was accused of bringing the wrong clothes to Balmoral and that she asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament to save her from being ousted as Prime Minister in 1990.
Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana in the latest series, told Sky News that it was clear from the script that the show is a work of fiction.
In addition to the series’ content, Netflix has faced pressure to meet its tax obligations. Mr Dowden has been asked to close a ‘loophole’ that requires British viewers who want to complain about The Crown to go to the Dutch TV regulator because Netflix is based in Holland.
Lord Forsyth: letter
Conservative peer and former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has written to Mr Dowden stating this means Netflix pays no corporation tax because the £1 billion of UK subscriptions do not stay in the UK.
It is understood The Crown has benefited from Government tax breaks worth up to £16 million for its contribution to Britain’s ‘culture and heritage’, documents lodged with the European Commission show.
It has now emerged that Netflix will begin paying tax on revenues it makes from British subscribers from 1 January.
It has not commented on Mr Dowden’s request.