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The Crown is 'unfair and sadistic', claims BBC broadcaster Andrew Marr

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
Andrew Marr leaves the BBC Broadcasting House in central London after presenting The Andrew Marr Show on 18 October, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Andrew Marr, here in October, 2020 said The Crown could damage the Royal Family. (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto)

Season Four of The Crown is “unfair and sadistic” according to political journalist and royal historian Andrew Marr.

Marr, 61, who released his latest book Elizabethans earlier this year, said the show, which covered the 1980s in the recently released episodes, was “unfair and sadistic”.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: “If they announced, ‘This is drama, it’s fiction, it’s entertainment’, you would say it’s brilliant.

“But when you start to say, ‘This is the truth about these people’s lives’, it’s grossly unfair and really quite sadistic.”

He added: “It’s so convincingly acted people may think it’s the truth, and it isn’t.”

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He said he would be “utterly horrified” if he was a member of the Royal Family.

Marr is one in a long list of critics of the show who have lambasted the newest season of the Netflix hit.

Fellow journalist Piers Morgan said the opening episode, which includes Lord Mountbatten writing a letter to Prince Charles which the younger royal gets after Mountbatten has died, had crossed a line.

And Andrew Neil said Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister in the 1980s portrayed in the season, would not have spoken to the Queen the way she did in episode eight.

Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has also raised concerns about the show, and said over the weekend: “The worry for me is that people see a programme like that and they forget that it is fiction. They assume, especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.”

PICTURE SHOWS: Queen Elizabeth II (OLIVIA COLMAN). Filming Location: Lyceum Theatre
Queen Elizabeth II, played by Olivia Colman in The Crown. (Netflix)

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Peter Morgan, the creator of the show, has defended parts of the show since season four was released, including the invented letter from Mountbatten to Charles.

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.”

He added: “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.”

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He has also talked about the theory about the Queen as a mother which he adopted in his portrayal of family life.

Emma Corrin, who plays the late Diana, also admitted she could understand why some people would be upset at the show’s latest series, but said the cast approach “people that we play as characters, which is why it's such a joyous job because Peter writes such rich and complex characters”.

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