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Why is Britain having a fact vs. fiction debate over The Crown in Season 4?

  • British culture secretary Oliver Dowden requesting that The Crown add a "fiction" disclaimer is the culmination of weeks of debate over the fact and fiction of the Netflix drama. “There has been such a reaction because Peter Morgan is now writing about events many of us lived through and some of us were at the center of,” said Andrew Neil, who edited The Sunday. Times from 1983 to 1984 and who published a famous scoop about tensions between Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher. Season 4 has ticked off people on both sides of the political aisle. Yet Margaret Thatcher biographer Charles Moore, the former editor of The Daily Telegraph, gets why Morgan took creative license. “There is this thing called the tyranny of fact,” says Moore. “But as we get to modern times, it gets harder to avoid.” As The New York Times' Mark Landler explains, "The Crown is now colliding with the people who wrote the first draft of that history. That has spun up a tempest in the British news media, even among those who ordinarily profess not to care much about the monarchy. Newspapers and television programs have been full of starchy commentary about how The Crown distorts history in its account of the turbulent decade in which Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer and Mrs. Thatcher wrought a free-market revolution in British society. The objections range from the personal (the queen’s brittle, coldhearted treatment of her emotionally fragile daughter-in-law, which the critics claim is unfair) to the political (the show’s portrait of Thatcher-era Britain as a right-wing dystopia, in the grip of a zealous leader who dares to lecture her sovereign during their weekly audiences). Historians say that is utterly inconceivable."


    TOPICS: The Crown, Netflix, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Morgan, Tobias Menzies