Judi Dench Slams Netflix Hit Show The Crown As Cruelly Unjust

Judi Dench is not happy with The Crown and spoke out about the show being representative of real events.

By Mark McKee | Published

Dame Judi Dench is speaking out against The Crown Season 5. According to a report by the BBC, the acting legend said the series, while always being billed as sensationalized fiction, seems to be willing to blur those lines between fact and fiction. She also went on to say that while no one is more a believer in artistic freedom than she is, she believes that the call for a disclaimer to air before the series can’t be ignored any further. She went on to say that the fictional portions of The Crown are a cruel and unjust representation of the events that happened, the family involved, and disrespectful to the institution it is claiming to depict. 

Dame Judi Dench made her comments criticizing The Crown following similar disparaging comments from former Prime Minister Sir John Major, where he addressed a scene between him and then Prince Charles engaged in a discussion about the Queen abdicating her throne by calling them “a barrel-load of malicious nonsense.” While Netflix has resisted the call for a disclaimer before the series to remind viewers that it is fictionalized, Dench and Major coming forward with calls for them to do so turned the tide with a new trailer featuring a disclaimer about the show’s fictionalized status.

Dame Judi Dench has never appeared on The Crown but did portray Queen Victoria twice in the 2017 historical drama Victoria & Abdul and in 1997’s Mrs. Brown. Dench is better known as M in the James Bond franchise, beginning by stepping into the role in Pierce Brosnan’s first 007 entry, Goldeneye, and lasting for eight films until her character’s untimely demise in Daniel Craig‘s third Bond outing, Skyfall. She was the first woman to play the role of Bond’s superior and brought a harsh and firm feel to her predecessors’ mostly bland portrayals. 

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Even without the star power of Judi Dench, The Crown has carried its fair share of big stars like Claire Foy and Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II, Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Matt Smith of Prince Phillip, Jared Harris as King George VI, John Lithgow as Winston Churchhill, Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, and Michael C. Hall as John F. Kennedy. In Season 5, Imelda Staunton (Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter) will be taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Price (Pirates of the Caribbean) will be stepping into the role of Prince Phillip, Elizabeth Debicki (Tenet and Guardians of the Galaxy 2) will play the ill-fated Princess Diana, and Dominic West (Tomb Raider and Downton Abby: A New Era) will portray Prince Charles. 

The Crown has spent four seasons depicting the happenings surrounding the British Royal Family in a sensationalized form of historical fiction. While the series has been accused of sensationalizing events for the sake of subscribers, Hollywood is full of films and television series that are based on or inspired by actual events, and some of those see a healthy amount of backlash. Most recently in the case of The Woman King, starring Viola Davis, and Blonde, starring Ana De Armes.