The government of the United Kingdom is leveling fresh criticism at Netflix's The Crown and asking the streaming service to add a "health warning" to the series. According to a report by The Mail, cultural secretary Oliver Dowden is writing to Netflix demanding for a "health warning" to explicitly state the show is "fiction" before each episode, fearing impressionable viewers might "mistake fiction for fact."
"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... Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact," Dowden said in an interview on Sunday. According to a report by The Guardian, historians are scoffing at this suggestion. "Reel History" columnist Alex von Tunzelmann wrote: "Netflix already tells people that The Crown is fiction. It's billed as a drama. Those people in it are actors. I know! Blows your mind."
The Crown follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II over the course of decades, interpreting cultural and political events through a personal lens, with plenty of fictional inferences made along the way. The series already comes with warnings saying it contains nudity, sex, violence and suicide references, and that it is not suitable for viewers under 15 years old.
The show is moving in chronological order, with big-time jumps and casting changes every couple of seasons to show the passage of decades. The new outcry from U.K. officials may be due to the fact that the show is getting closer and closer to the modern era — Season 4 deals with the late 1970s and 1980s when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher invaded the Falkland Islands. It also tackles the story of Prince Charles' marriage to Lady Diana Spencer.
Plenty of historians have leveled accusations of inaccuracy against The Crown, and of taking too many creative liberties, where no reliable sources were available. Recently, many have been put off by the show's inferences about Prince Charles' relationship with Princess Diana, and his alleged infidelity.
The show depicts Prince Charles as unfaithful from the beginning, frequently calling his ex, Camilla Parker Bowles in the early days of their marriage. It also shows Diana to be furious behind-the-scenes, all of which comes from rumors and speculation, but no concrete sources available to the public. Despite the rising tone of the outcry, the show has voiced no plans to change yet. The Crown is streaming now on Netflix.