The Crown has gone far enough.. .axe it now, says Jennie Bond

The Crown: Full trailer for fifth season

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The upcoming fifth series of the hit show must be the last, says Jennie, and the programme must carry a prominent disclaimer to tell ­viewers that it is a fictional drama.

Prince Harry, who has a Netflix deal, could also “pull a few strings” to influence decisions about the drama, she urged.

“They should end it,” said Jennie, 72, who was a royal correspondent for almost 15 years. “That’s far enough – haven’t they [William and Harry] suffered enough?”

There are said to be plans for a sixth and final season but Jennie wants this shelved.

Her comments follow criticism from Dame Judi Dench that the series is “crude sensationalism” and from former prime minister Sir John Major, who called one key scene “malicious nonsense”.

Dame Judi also called for a clear disclaimer to be added to the programme.

Jennie said: “It needs to be made clear this is not the truth. It’s gone far enough. I think it does matter. I’ve said for a long time and I believe very fervently that the series does need a disclaimer.

“I come across all sorts of young people particularly in their 20s and 30s. Knowing the job I do, they come up to me and say, “God, I didn’t know that happened. Wow”. I go, “No, no, no, no, it didn’t. That’s not true. Please don’t believe everything you see”.

“They’re taking it as truth and it is quite damaging, I think, to the reputation of the Royal Family and increasingly so, as the series approaches the modern era.

“It’s an extremely sensitive area they’re now going into, leading up to Diana’s death. Having reported on the royal story, which in journalistic terms as we all know, has legs and then some, I don’t understand why Netflix feel the need to elaborate and exaggerate what is already an extra­ordinary story.

“So many times in my working life I’ve received a phone call and headed off to the office thinking, “You couldn’t make it up, could you?”

Speaking about a potential sixth series, Jennie said: “I’m not sure they should go there. They should end it.

“I think this series goes up to the days before Diana’s death or certainly the weeks before her death. And that’s far enough with everyone who has lived through the rest of it and we know what happened.

“It’s becoming quite hurtful to the ­people who are alive now. I mean, how would you feel having your mother’s tragic and sudden early death splashed all over the television?

“They’ve suffered enough, those boys, and they see enough references to their dead mother still, and images of her still, and to have a portrayal of her by some actress… I just feel for those young men.”

In an apparent response to Dame Judi’s calls, Netflix has now added a disclaimer on its YouTube channel, saying it is a “fictionalised drama”. It is not known if this will appear on each ­episode when it streams from November 9.

Dame Judi recently said that Netflix “seems ­willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism”. She added that there is a risk that “a ­significant number of viewers” would take its events as historical truth.

Sir John Major said a scene that is said to include a conversation between him and Prince Charles, as he was then, about the Queen abdicating, is “a barrel-load of ­malicious nonsense”.

Jennie said: “John Major has always been very close to the Royal Family, very respected and trusted by them, and if he says that these conversations – this alleged push by Charles to dethrone his mother, to persuade her to abdicate – never took place, then I absolutely believe John Major.

“He’s a man of considerable integrity, and Dame Judi Dench, a heroine of mine, good for her. I think it is she who has raised her voice enough for Netflix to take note.”

Prince Harry, she said, who is contracted to Netflix for a documentary, is in a unique position to approach the streaming service about the future of The Crown. She said: “Harry has an in. He could pull a few strings.”

The trailer for series five was released last week. It will focus heavily on the controversy surrounding Charles and Diana’s separ­ation and divorce.

A Netflix spokesperson said: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.

“Series five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the Royal Family. One that has already been scrutinised and well documented by journalists, ­biographers and historians.”

Netflix also points out that most of the people who are currently commenting on the show have yet to see the episodes.

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