Netflix reportedly delays Harry and Meghan documentary following backlash to The Crown season 5

Historical drama has already been criticised by the likes of John Major

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 18 October 2022 05:57 BST
The Crown season 5: First teaser released

Netflix has delayed the release of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s forthcoming documentary series due to the anticipated response to The Crown season five, reports have claimed.

The first project as part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s rumoured $100m (£88m) deal with the streaming service, the documentary series was unofficially slated for release on Netflix in December.

Despite no official date being announced, bosses at Netflix had said that they hoped the documentary, parts of which were filmed at Harry and Meghan’s Montecito estate, would follow weeks after The Crown.

However, with negative press already surrounding the launch of the royal drama’s fifth season on 9 November, executives have reportedly been left “rattled”.

As a result, the series, which is a co-production between Netflix and Archewell Productions, is said to have been pushed back to 2023.

A source told Deadline: “They’re rattled at Netflix and they blinked first and decided to postpone the documentary.”

In response, a spokesperson told the publication that “there’s never been any documentary from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed”.

The Independent has contacted Netflix for further comment.

The news comes after the forthcoming fifth season of The Crown, which sees the show jump forward to the Nineties with a new cast, has come under scrutiny.

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana in ‘The Crown’
Elizabeth Debicki as Diana in ‘The Crown’ (PA Media)

One round of criticism has come from John Major, who will be depicted by Jonny Lee Miller in conversations with the Queen (Imelda Staunton), the then-Prince Charles (Dominic West) and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki).

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The show will reportedly feature a scene in which Charles suggests to Major that he should take over the throne early from Queen Elizabeth.

Speaking to The Telegraph, a spokesperson for Major called the show a “barrel-load of nonsense” and “malicious fiction”.

“Sir John has not cooperated – 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,” they said.

Jonny Lee Miller as John Major in ‘The Crown’
Jonny Lee Miller as John Major in ‘The Crown’ (PA Media)

However, Netflix has spoken out in defence of The Crown, calling it a “fictional dramatisation” of royal history.

The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events,” they said.

“Series five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”

The Crown season five comes to Netflix on Wednesday 9 November.

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