Major calls Neflix’s The Crown a ‘barrel-load of nonsense’ over plots

Victoria Hervey says The Crown airing 'too soon' after Queen's death

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Sir John Major has called the Netflix show “a barrel-load of nonsense” after fears the television series new season may harm the reputation of King Charles soon after Queen Elizabeth’s death. The Crown’s season five will be released on November 9 and is expected to cover the reign of Queen Elizabeth in the 1990s. 

Sir John, who was Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997, has said the imagined conservations between him and Queen Elizabeth on the show are “fiction, pure and simple”.

There are rumours that fictional plot lines in the upcoming television series may be controversial, and one episode is rumoured to show a fictional Charles asking Major for his support for the Queen’s abdication.

Another plot line may show imagined conservations between Major and his wife Dame Norma in which he criticises the Royal Family.

On Saturday evening, a spokesperson for Mr Major said: “There was never any discussion about any possible abdication.”

They added that the former Prime Minister had never discussed the Royal Family in disparaging remarks.

The spokesperson said: “Sir John has not cooperated – in any way – with The Crown. Nor has he ever been approached by them to fact-check any script material in this or any other series.

“Discussions between the monarch and prime minister are entirely private and – for Sir John – will always remain so.”

Prince Williams has also recently spoken out against the Netflix show, according to the Telegraph.

The broadsheet has claimed that the Prince of Wales believed the company is profiteering from his mother Princess Diana’s BBC Panorama interview.

In the past, Prince William said the interview should “never be aired again” after it was revealed his late mother agreed to participate under false pretences.

The upcoming season is thought to be one of the most controversial seasons to date, as last week’s sources claimed one episode will also portray Prince Philip pursuing an affair with friend Penny Knatchbull and criticising his marriage with Queen Elizabeth.

Dickie Arbiter, Queen Elizabeth’s former press secretary, said the plotline was “cruel rubbish” which would “hurt people’s feelings”.

He said: “Coming just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip, this is very distasteful and, quite frankly, cruel rubbish.

“The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family. Netflix are not interested in people’s feelings.”

Ingrid Seward, a royal expert who is the editor of Majesty magazine, called the plotline “exceedingly bad taste”.

She added: “This is fiction. There’s no way in a million years he’d discuss his marriage with anybody. The royals probably won’t watch it for their own sanity.”

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In 2020, the then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden raised concerns that young audiences might not be able to tell what is real and what is fictional in the Crown and called for a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode.

He said: “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.”

A spokesperson for Netflix at the time said: “We have always presented The Crown as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events.

“As a result, we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”

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