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.
Q: Another new movie, A United Kingdom, saddles Churchill with racism. It’s the story of Seretse Khama, a member of the Bechuanaland royal family and heir to the throne. After studying in England, he meets and marries a British woman, Ruth Williams. The South African government, which is adopting Apartheid, is troubled by the interracial marriage and presses the Attlee government in Britain to exile Khama, which they do. Churchill is not a character in the film, but we are told that he supports Khama and will restore him if Churchill’s party wins the 1951 election.…
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.…