Dame Judi Dench has played a British queen before and now she is sounding off about Netflix’s popular dramatization of the royal family.
In a letter to The Times, the revered actress shares her concerns about the forthcoming new season of “The Crown,” writing that “the closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.”
“While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that it is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true,” Dench write. “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.”
Season 5 of the series debuts November 9 in the US and is set during the 1990s in Britain.
“As Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) approaches the 40th anniversary of her accession, she reflects on a reign that has encompassed nine prime ministers, the advent of mass television and the twilight of the British Empire,” a Netflix synopsis of the new season reads in part. “Yet new challenges are on the horizon. “
Dench added her concerns to those of former prime minister Sir John Major, who recently told The Mail that a scene purporting to show him and then Prince Charles (played by Dominic West) discussing a plot to oust his mother Queen Elizabeth when Major was in office was a “barrel load of malicious nonsense.”
Major called for a boycott of the show and Netflix reportedly defended the series as being “fictionalized drama.”
“No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged,” Dench wrote. “Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a “fictionalised drama” the programme makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode.”
“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,” added Dench, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as Elizabeth I in the 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love.”
CNN has reached out to Netflix for comment.