It is depressing and disheartening for anyone who knows the barest facts to hear history told by actors, with reality turned on its head under guise of entertainment. Invented dialogue and scenarios are of course necessary for dramatic effect. Robert Hardy's scrupulously accurate portrayal of Churchill's "Wilderness Years" doesn't deviate an iota from fact or believability. Yet it is at least as dramatic as this latest dose of Fake History.
The Crown, 2016. Produced for Netflix by Left Bank Pictures, created and written by Peter Morgan. Ten episodes released 4 November 2016. A second season is commissioned.
N.B. Since writing this, more false trails emerged. Consulting 1952 documents at the Hillsdale College Churchill Project and Churchill Archives Centre, we found no evidence for the film’s implication that the Duke of Windsor bargained with Churchill to persuade the Royal couple to move from Clarence House to the Palace, in exchange for restoration of his allowance. Nor is there anything to suggest Churchill postponed the Coronation 18 months for his own political purposes.
No sooner had I admired the fair, mostly balanced and accurate PBS docudrama Churchill’s Secret (on the Prime Minister’s June 1953 stroke) than I was grumbling through Netflix’s The Crown, which is, sadly, as often misleading as Churchill’s Secret was honest.…
The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune. Nothing will alter our feelings towards them or our faith that the genius of France will rise again. —Winston S. Churchill, 4 June 1940
With every murderous threat to civilization we are asked: “Where are our Churchills?” There isn’t one, and we should not expect one. Churchills are rare. They appear in extremis. The threat in 1940 was, if this is any consolation, far more serious than the threat today.…