Former PMs Tony Blair and John Major hit out at The Crown for 'hurtful' and 'utter rubbish' depictions

4 November 2022, 23:52

Tony Blair and John Major
Tony Blair and John Major. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Two former Prime Ministers have slammed hit Netflix drama the Crown for its depictions of their dealings with the Royal family in the 1990s.

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Former Conservative PM Sir John Major wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph condemning a "hurtful" scene in the new season.

The sequence is expected to show then-Prince Charles cutting short a holiday with Diana, Princess of Wales, to host a secret meeting with Sir John at Highgrove in 1991 - to discuss potentially ousting the Queen.

Sir Tony Blair, the Labour PM from 1997-2007, is also shown in the new season in discussions with the Prince of Wales about arranging a marriage to his now-wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, in 1997.

Imelda Staunton and other cast members filming the new season
Imelda Staunton and other cast members filming the new season. Picture: Getty

Sir Tony's spokesman told the Telegraph: "It should come as no surprise that this is complete and utter rubbish."

In his letter, Sir John, who was Prime Minister from 1990-1997, said: "Netflix may well take the view that any publicity is good publicity.

"But I assure them it is not - most especially when it disrespects the memory of those no longer alive, or puts words into the mouths of those still living and in no position to defend themselves.

"Fiction should not be paraded as fact."

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He continued: "I gather Netflix continues to refuse to put out a disclaimer at the top of the opening credits, on the basis that 'everyone knows this is a drama series'.

"But this is simply not good enough. If everyone knows, why not acknowledge that?

"Without such action, many millions - around the world - could still be influenced by a damaging and fictional script, which claims 'authority' by being interspersed with historical fact.

"Entertainment is a great and glorious industry that brings enormous pleasure to many millions. Netflix should not demean it with portrayals which are both injurious and untrue."

Netflix has put a disclaimer on the trailer for the new season, which starts on November 9, saying the production is a "fictional dramatisation" and "inspired by real events".

Read more: ‘Damaging and malicious fiction’: Sir John Major attacks The Crown amid fears over King’s reputation

Read more: Fury as Netflix's The Crown to dramatise Diana's interview with Bashir - despite William's pleas

Sir John's letter comes after he called the show "damaging and malicious fiction" earlier this week.

A spokesman for Sir John 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.

The plot lines were described as “damaging and malicious fiction” and “a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum - and entirely false - dramatic impact”.

Netflix has previously made clear that The Crown is a dramatic series and has never sought to portray it as a documentary.