‘The Crown’ Season 5 Cast Weighs in on That Disclaimer Drama: ‘It’s Patronizing to the Audience’

“The Crown” Season 5 is due to debut this week, but the new season has not been without its own drama over the last few weeks, and now some members of the new cast of the Netflix series is weighing in.

It all started when actress Judi Dench (who is not in “The Crown”) wrote a letter published in The Times calling on the series to add a disclaimer clearly branding it as a work of fiction, describing the drama as “willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.”

Netflix added a “fictional dramatization” disclaimer to the Season 5 trailer but has not yet announced any plans to add one to the series itself when the new season premieres on Wednesday, and in an interview with TheWrap, co-star Jonathan Pryce – who takes over the role of Prince Philip – said adding one would be “patronizing” to the show’s fans.

“It came from one letter, one letter to the Times,” Pryce told TheWrap. “You’ve got to realize that it’s not a universal viewpoint and in many ways, it’s patronizing to the audience of ‘The Crown’ that have been viewing it in millions for the last four seasons to suddenly turn around and say, ‘Oh, by the way, you do know, dear reader, this is a drama, it’s not a documentary.’ Oh, really?”

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Pryce added that he and the rest of the cast understand the “heightened sensitivity” around the series due to the passing of the Queen, but said clearly, “I stand by it and I’m very proud of it.”

Co-star Lesley Manville, who takes on the role of Princess Margaret in these final two seasons, shared similar sentiments and added that the aim of the series has always been to show the interior lives of the Royal Family.

“I think the brighter members of the community will see very clearly that it is a drama and we’ve never pretended that it’s anything other than that, but it is obviously dealing with a very famous family,” Manville told TheWrap in a separate interview. “But what Peter Morgan is setting out to do is what I said to you earlier, it’s to show the side of these characters that you don’t get to see. We know what they’re like on Horse Guard’s parade, on these big occasions that they have to deal with. What we don’t know is what’s going on in here.”

Manville stopped short of giving any kind of formal recommendation about whether there should be a disclaimer.

“But don’t ask me about whether there should be disclaimers or not disclaimers, because I’m just an actress, and I do my job, and that’s for other people. The politics of that and the practicalities of that and the legality of all of that. Somebody else’s job,” she said, adding with a laugh, “It’s called Netflix.”

As for how the Queen’s death affects the show at this moment in time, Pryce believes it’ll result in an increase in empathy towards Queen Elizabeth II once viewers tune in.

“I think the biggest effect is [on] the audience. It will affect how they perceive Season 5 and how they view it, and I personally think there’ll be a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding about the Queen, because people will want to see it,” Pryce told TheWrap. “I know the day after the Queen died, the viewing figures of previous seasons went up 150%. So it’s something people want to see and it’s still the same Queen they will want to see, and I find the whole thing very moving.”

“The Crown” Season 5 premieres on Netflix on Wed, Nov. 9.

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