The Crown accused of creative licence by Australia’s national broadcaster

Anita Singh
·2 min read
the crown
the crown

Australia’s national broadcaster has accused The Crown of creative licence after the show pretended that the country’s former Prime Minister called the Queen a “Pom” and likened her to a pig in twinset and pearls.

Peter Morgan, writer of the Netflix show, twisted a real-life interview given by Bob Hawke in 1983 to ABC’s flagship Four Corners programme.

The series correctly reflected that Mr Hawke, who was then weeks away from becoming Prime Minister, said he believed that the country would be better off as a republic.

But Morgan then invented lines in which Mr Hawke criticised the Queen. The character, played by Richard Roxburgh, says: “I respect and admire the Queen enormously. The desire is simply to have a head of state that embodies and represents Australian values and traditions - a head of state that looks like us, sounds like us, thinks like us.”

When the interviewer asks him to elaborate, he replies: “One of them, a Pom, an unelected non-Australian who lives on the other side of the world and, for all their good intentions, is a different breed.

“You wouldn’t put a pig in charge of a herd of prime beef cattle, even if it did look good in a twinset and pearls.” The audience reacts with laughter and applause.

In a series of tweets, the Four Corners programme said: Hey Netflix. Huge fan. While we’re loving the fact that you’ve featured us in The Crown, we’re in the business of facts and there are a few things we want to clear up.”

After pointing out that The Crown had got the date and location of the interview wrong, the Australian programme said: “And while we’ve enjoyed your creative license, Hawke did not call the Queen a pig on our show.”

The show has been accused of numerous inaccuracies, and is a blend of fact and fiction. Morgan has said: “You sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”