Netflix declines to flag up to viewers that The Crown is fiction, UK media reports

Streaming platform Netflix has rejected a call from Britain's culture minister to add disclaimers at the start of episodes of its hit series The Crown to make clear that it is a work of fiction, several British media reported on Sunday.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is among several prominent figures in Britain who have argued that the scripted series, in which actors play members of the royal family, risked giving viewers a wrong and damaging impression of the royals.

A government source said Dowden had written to the company saying the series was "a beautifully produced and acted drama but Netflix should be very clear it is a work of fiction".

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Stars of The Crown
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Stars of The Crown
Emma Corrin as Diana in The Crown. (Netflix)
Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles in The Crown. (Netflix)
Emma Corrin as Diana in The Crown. (Netflix)
Emma Corrin as Diana in The Crown. (Netflix)
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in 'The Crown'. (Netflix/Sophie Mutevelian)
Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies in The Crown. (Netflix)
Olivia Colman, a cast member in the Netflix series "The Crown," poses at a gala screening of the show at the 2019 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Gillian Anderson, a cast member in the Netflix series "The Crown," poses at a gala screening of the show at the 2019 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Erin Doherty, a cast member in the Netflix series "The Crown," poses at a gala screening of the show at the 2019 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Peter Morgan, left, the creator/writer/executive producer of the Netflix series "The Crown," poses with cast member John Lithgow at a gala screening of the show at the 2019 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Peter Morgan, center, the creator/writer/executive producer of the Netflix series "The Crown," poses with cast members Helena Bonham Carter, left, and Olivia Colman at a gala screening of the show at the 2019 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Josh O'Connor, a cast member in the Netflix series "The Crown," poses at a gala screening of the show at the 2019 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 file photo, actors Claire Foy, left, and Matt Smith pose for photographers on arrival at the premiere of the series 'The Crown, Season 2' in central London. Producers of the Netflix drama "The Crown" apologized Tuesday to actors Claire Foy and Matt Smith over the revelation that Foy was paid less than her male co-star. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP, File)
Actresses Claire Foy, left, and Vanessa Kirby pose for photographers on arrival at the premiere of the Netflix series 'The Crown: Season 2' in London, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 16: (L-R) Charles Dance, Erin Doherty, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Morgan, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Josh O’Connor attend AFI Fest: The Crown & Peter Morgan Tribute at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 16, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Netflix)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: (L-R) Jason Watkins, Tobias Menzies and Josh O'Connor attend the World Premiere of Netflix Original Series "The Crown" Season 3 at The Curzon Mayfair on November 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: (L-R) Tobias Menzies, Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter attend the World Premiere of Netflix Original Series "The Crown" Season 3 at The Curzon Mayfair on November 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Harry Treadaway attends the World Premiere of Netflix Original Series "The Crown" Season 3 at The Curzon Mayfair on November 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
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Netflix did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters requesting comment.

"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," the company was quoted as saying in the UK media reports.

"As a result we have no plans - and see no need - to add a disclaimer."

While many British viewers have enjoyed watching The Crown, the most recent season has attracted criticism from some commentators over scenes suggesting that the late Princess Diana was treated coldly, even cruelly, by senior royals.

Columnist Simon Jenkins of the Guardian newspaper accused the fourth season of having "upped the fabrication and the offence".

Arguing that modern history was "too close to what should be sacred ground - bearing witness to passing events", he wrote that artistic licence could not justify fabrications that showed living or recently dead people in the worst possible light.

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