Gardener Alan Titchmarsh has said he will boycott the latest season of The Crown on Netflix out of loyalty to his friend Prince Charles.
Season four of the Netflix programme has caused controversy since it launched in mid-November, with calls from figures including a government minister, a Lord and Princess Diana’s brother for a disclaimer on the show making clear it’s fiction.
Now Titchmarsh, who has met Charles through their shared passion for gardening and the outdoors, has said he won’t be watching the new series because of how the prince is portrayed.
The season covers the arrival of Princess Diana into the royal fold including her marriage to Charles. In the show, Charles continues an affair with Camilla, then Parker-Bowles, while married to Diana.
Titchmarsh told the Mirror: “I’m not watching this series, because I’m afraid I’m one of those who thinks that it’s based too much on conjecture, and it will pass into received wisdom.
"I know Prince Charles quite well. And I would feel the same way as I would have any friend of mine that was portrayed on the box.
“I feel a loyalty to them.”
It comes after Titchmarsh welcomed Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, onto his show, and the earl discussed his unease at people feeling “they’ve had a history lesson” after watching it.
Watch: Princess Diana’s brother blasts The Crown
Titchmarsh continued: “They say, ‘Oh, well it’s drama’. But no, it’s real people’s lives.
“If I were to make a film about your life, and invent the bits that I didn’t know, that wouldn’t really be very fair on you, would it? I think it’s not enough to say, ‘Oh, people know it’s drama’.”
The TV gardener, who now hosts a Sunday morning show on ITV, said he had enjoyed the first two seasons of The Crown, saying Claire Foy was “wonderful”.
Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles in seasons three and four, said the idea of adding a disclaimer onto the programme was “outrageous”.
Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, had made the request to Netflix, but the streaming giant declined it.
O’Connor said: “We were slightly let down by our culture secretary, whose job it is to encourage culture.
“In my opinion, it’s pretty outrageous that he came out and said what he said. Particularly in this time when he knows that the arts are struggling and they’re on their knees, I think it’s a bit of a low blow.”
Earlier this week, former minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean raised the issue in the House of Lords, accusing Netflix of arrogance for refusing to add the disclaimer.
It came as two members of the team said they had made up one of the scenes in the show to “break our hearts”.
Watch: Is The Crown a true story?