Helena Bonham Carter says The Crown has a ‘moral responsibility’ to warn viewers it is a drama

Annabel Nugent
·2-min read
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret (Des Willie/Netflix)
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret (Des Willie/Netflix)

Helena Bonham Carter has weighed in on the debate over whether viewers should be warned that The Crown is “fiction”.

Despite receiving positive reviews, the fourth season of the hugely popular Netflix series has also attracted criticism for its historical inaccuracies.

Bonham Carter – who portrays Princess Margaret in series three and four of the historical drama – spoke about the controversy during an appearance on the official podcast for The Crown.

The actor pointed out that there is a distinction between “our version” and the “real version”.

She said: “It is dramatised. I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, ‘Hang on guys, this is not … it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.’ So they are two different entities.”

Getty Images/Netflix
Getty Images/Netflix

The 54-year-old went on to commend the show’s creator Peter Morgan for his extensive research, which she called “amazing”. She added: “That is the proper documentary. That is amazing and then Peter switches things up and juggles.”

Bonham Carter's comments follow only days after culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that he intends to write to Netflix to request that a “health warning” be added to the beginning of each episode of The Crown to warn viewers that the show is “fiction”.

Dowden said the show is “a beautifully produced work of fiction” and so, as with other TV productions, “Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that”.

Both Bonham Carter and Dowden’s comments come amid increasing concern from royal commentators that the series strays too far from the truth in order to be considered a factual retelling of events.

Princess Diana’s younger brother Earl Spencer has joined critics in requesting that the streaming platform include some kind of “disclaimer” at the beginning of each episode.

Emma Corrin – who portrays Princess Diana in the fourth series – has also admitted that the series “has its roots in reality and in some fact” but stipulated that “Peter Morgan’s scripts are works of fiction”.

Morgan himself has defended some of the fabricated scenes in the fourth season of the series, including a historically unsubstantiated plotline concerning Prince Charles (played by Josh O’Connor).

The Crown is currently available to stream on Netflix. A dissection of the show’s historical accuracy can be found here.

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