New Catherine the Great series WILL include fiction disclaimer


New Catherine the Great series WILL include fiction disclaimer after The Crown refused to inform audiences

  • The Channel 4 drama carries a disclaimer at the start about inaccuracies
  • Royal experts told The Mail that The Crown should include a disclaimer
  • But The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan has resisted the calls despite the backlash

The creator of a TV drama about the life of Russian empress Catherine the Great has included a disclaimer to warn audiences that some scenes are imagined – and warned of the dangers of not being honest with the public.

Australian dramatist Tony McNamara said of his new series The Great: ‘We’re dramatists, not historians.’

The Channel 4 drama, starring Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning, carries a disclaimer at the start to inform viewers that it is ‘an occasionally true story’.

McNamara, who is best known for co-writing Oscar-nominated film The Favourite, told The Times: ‘We don’t always tell Catherine’s story in the right chronology, but we tell it in the right spirit. And I’ve told the audience it’s not completely true. I’ve come clean.’

The Channel 4 drama, starring Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning, carries a disclaimer at the start to inform viewers that it is ‘an occasionally true story’

He said The Great contained ‘a history that is sort of true and facts I thought were useful’, adding: ‘I’m also aware of how history is written and chosen. We’re not that slavish to it because we think it doesn’t tell the story well enough.’

His comments come after a chorus of politicians and Royal experts told The Mail on Sunday that streaming giant Netflix should include a disclaimer before episodes of The Crown.

Critics say some of the scenes in the fourth series – particularly those examining the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana – either never happened or are distortions of the truth.

The Great, which begins tonight, details the marriage between Catherine, who ruled Russia between 1762 and 1796, and her second cousin, Peter III

The Great, which begins tonight, details the marriage between Catherine, who ruled Russia between 1762 and 1796, and her second cousin, Peter III 

The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan has resisted the calls, saying: ‘You sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.’

But McNamara said The Crown ran into trouble when viewers could remember the individuals depicted.

‘They had a period where everything they did was seen as truth and now they’ve hit a period where people have lived it,’ he said. ‘The ownership people around the world had on that story – they can’t win.’

The Great, which begins tonight, details the marriage between Catherine, who ruled Russia between 1762 and 1796, and her second cousin, Peter III, whom she overthrew in a coup d’etat.

McNamara said he invented some sections to suit his dramatic purposes. ‘I had a particular story to write about men in power and the original Peter didn’t help me tell that story,’ he said. ‘He was a much weaker character, and childlike in a different way.

‘I created Peter to be a good antagonist to Catherine and to let me talk about men who inherit power and don’t know quite what to do with it. I was interested in how she responded to the fact that she had married the wrong man. Now she has to decide whether to kill him.’

Sarah Vine: Page 29

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