Netflix has defended its hit show “The Crown” as a “fictional dramatisation,” after former British Prime Minister John Major slammed its depictions of his time in office as “damaging and malicious fiction” and a “barrel-load of nonsense.”
Major, who was prime minister from 1990 to 1997, responded on Saturday to rumors in UK media that one plotline of the new season sees King Charles III – then the Prince of Wales – hinting that he wanted Major’s support for his mother’s abdication.
Another plot line is said to include disparaging conversations between Major – played by Jonny Lee Miller – and his wife, Norma, concerning the Queen and the royal family.
A statement on behalf of the former prime minister sent to CNN on Monday described such scenes as “a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum – and entirely false – dramatic impact.”
“Sir John has not co-operated – 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,” a spokesman for Major said in the statement.
“Discussions between the Monarch and Prime Minister are entirely private and – for Sir John – will always remain so. But not one of the scenes you depict are accurate – in any way whatsoever. They are fiction, pure and simple,” the spokesman said.
“There was never any discussion between Sir John and the then Prince of Wales about any possible abdication of the late Queen Elizabeth II – nor was such an improbable and improper subject ever raised by the then Prince of Wales (or Sir John),” he added.
“Neither Sir John nor Dame Norma have discussed the Monarchy remotely in the terms you suggest in your email,” the spokesman said, adding: “What you report as depicted in the script has never been their view, never would be their view, and never will be their view.”
The latest season of “The Crown” is on track to air on Netflix on November 9, with Imelda Staunton set to take over the role of the Queen from Olivia Colman, who portrayed her in seasons 3 and 4.
According to Netflix’s description, season 5 centers around the Queen “approaching the 40th anniversary of her accession.”
Netflix responded to the furore on Monday, with a spokesperson saying in a statement: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.”
“Series 5 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,” the spokesperson added.
The show, which was created by Peter Morgan, swept the drama categories at last year’s Emmy awards, winning the top prize of the night, the award for outstanding drama series.
CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed reporting.