Jonathan Pryce 'bitterly disappointed' by 'fellow artistes' for blasting The Crown

Jonathan Pryce and Imelda Staunton in The Crown credit:Bang Showbiz
Jonathan Pryce and Imelda Staunton in The Crown credit:Bang Showbiz

Sir Jonathan Pryce has been left "bitterly disappointed" by his "fellow artistes" for hitting out at 'The Crown'.

The 75-year-old star portrays Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, in the controversial Netflix show's upcoming fifth series, and he believes there is an "an enhanced sensitivity" surrounding the drama - which tells the story of Queen Elizabeth and is inspired by real events - because of the recent death of the monarch, who passed away last month aged 96.

It comes after Dame Judi Dench accused the show of being "cruelly unjust" to the Royal Family, and said it should open with a warning that it is "fictionalised drama".

But Jonathan - who was knighted in 2021 for his services to drama - hit back, telling Deadline: "The vast majority of people know it’s a drama. They’ve been watching it for four seasons."

Earlier this month, Judi, 87, said in an open letter: "The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism … no one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged.

“The programme makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode.

"The time has come for Netflix to reconsider – for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve their own reputation in the eyes of their British subscribers."

Following her comments, Netflix added a disclaimer to a trailer for 'The Crown', stating the show is fiction.

The description of the show on Netflix reads: "Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatisation tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign."

Former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major has also criticised the upcoming fifth season, calling an apparent seen depicting himself - played by Jonny Lee Miller - and the then-Prince Charles talking about the queen potentially abdicating is "a barrel-load of malicious nonsense".

A statement from his office said: "Sir John has not co-operated in any way with 'The Crown'. Nor has he ever been approached by them to fact-check any script material in this or any other series.

"As you will know, discussions between the monarch and prime minister are entirely private and - for Sir John - will always remain so.

"But not one of the scenes you depict are accurate in any way whatsoever. They are fiction, pure and simple."

However, Jonathan can understand John "voicing his disquiet" about the series, "because he was there".

But he added: "I’m hugely disappointed by my fellow artistes."

Lesley Manville, who plays Princess Margaret in the upcoming fifth series, has also defended 'The Crown', insisting the queen's passing has "heightened" any hostility towards the show.

She said: "There is, and for my part as well, a great deal of compassion towards the queen, and depths of feeling that she is no longer with us. That has certainly heightened it all."

Imelda Staunton will play the queen in the forthcoming fifth series, which will be released on November 9th, and Dominic West stars as Charles.