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Conservatives criticise 'hateful' portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in 'The Crown'

George Martin
·3-min read
Tory MPs criticised the show's creators over their depiction of Mrs Thatcher. (Netflix/YouTube)
Tory MPs criticised the show's creators over their depiction of Mrs Thatcher. (Netflix/YouTube)

Prominent Conservatives have criticised hit Netflix show The Crown over its portrayal of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Tory MPs and activists voiced their concern over the historical drama, which follows Thatcher’s premiership during the Troubles in the 1970s and during the Falklands War.

Gillian Anderson stars as Thatcher in season four of the hit show, which some commentators claim shows her in a “hateful” light.

Tory activist and founder of the ConservativeHome website Tim Montgomerie tweeted: “I can’t bear to watch any more of The Crown and its absurd, hateful portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. Such a shame.”

Watch: Who is Margaret Thatcher?

While Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen slammed the show’s creators for suggesting the disappearance of Thatcher’s son Mark in 1982 affected her decision to go to invade the Falklands in the same year.

“Utter rubbish. If there was ever a just war it was the Falklands War,” Bridgen told MailOnline.

“They are painting a picture of Mrs Thatcher and that period for a generation who don’t remember what it was like to live through the horrors perpetrated by these terrorists.

“People lived in fear, especially in cities like Birmingham, where people were frightened to go out after so many people were murdered by the brutal IRA in the pub bombings.”

Read more: Is Netflix's 'The Crown' a true story?

It comes after Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown, was forced to defend making up scenes with the Prince of Wales and his beloved great-uncle Lord Mountbatten.

Charles Dance's Lord Mountbatten admonishes Josh O'Connor's Charles for his pursuit of Camilla, who at the time was married to Andrew Parker Bowles.

Viewers see the older man writing a letter warning Charles he is in danger of bringing "ruin and disappointment" to the family.

On the show, the prince only reads the note after the IRA assassinated Lord Mountbatten in August 1979.

Margaret Thatcher, New British P.M. accompanied by her husband Denis, pictured on steps of No. 10 Downing St. on May 4, 1979 after being asked to form Britain?s new government. Also views of crowds and press. (AP Photo/Dear)
Thatcher arriving at Downing Street for the first time as PM in 1979. (AP)

While no record of the letter exists, Morgan believes the interaction to be based in truth.

Speaking on the show's official podcast, he said: "What we know is that Mountbatten was really responsible for taking Charles to one side at precisely this point and saying, 'Look, you know, enough already with playing the field, it's time you got married and it's time you provided an heir'.

"As the heir I think there was some concern that he should settle down, marry the appropriate person and get on with it."

Criticism of The Crown has often focused on its portrayal of made up events. The show employs researchers but Morgan defended his right to creative freedom.

He said: "In my own head I thought that would have even greater impact on Charles if it were to come post-mortem, as it were. I think everything that's in that letter that Mountbatten writes to Charles is what I really believe, based on everything I've read and people I've spoken to, that represents his view.

"We will never know if it was put into a letter, and we will never know if Charles got that letter before or after Mountbatten's death, but in this particular drama, this is how I decided to deal with it."

Watch: Real footage of the search for Mark Thatcher, when he went missing for six days in 1982