The Crown: Critics slate new season featuring Diana's ghost

The Netflix hit returned with the first four episodes of its final season

The Crown season 6 (Netflix)
The Crown season 6 (Netflix)

Netflix has released The Crown season 6 part one but while fans of the show might be delighted to see the programme return, the first four episodes have been heavily criticised by reviewers.

The first half of the series predominantly focuses on Princess Diana's final days and death in Paris in August 1997, with the People's Princess (Elizabeth Debicki) later appearing in part one's finale as a ghost — something that resulted in much backlash from critics.

Read more: The Crown season 6 opens with shocking Princess Diana car crash scene

Here is everything you need to know about what critics have said about the series and what they say it means for the show and the future of the streamer.

The Crown season 6 part one reviews

The Crown season 6 (Netflix)
The Crown season 6 (Netflix)

The Guardian gave the new episodes of The Crown a one star rating, claiming that the four episodes featured "bad writing" and that it felt "crass" and "soapy" in comparison to previous seasons.

Critic Lucy Mangan claims that watching the scenes featuring Diana's ghost, in which she speaks with Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II, made her have an "out of body experience" and that her notes on the scene were "indecipherable" which was just as well because they'd likely be "unprintable".

Mangan wrote: "Ghost Diana is all of a piece with what is now simply a crass, by-numbers piece of film-making, with a script that barely aspires to craft, let alone art, any more."

The Independent also criticised the series for its use of Diana's ghost, but also hit out at the series for using a "tabloid tone" when approaching its narrative, which is within living memory.

Critic Nick Hilton said: "The Crown has always peddled in easy answers. Big, brassy metaphors for the decline of empire; foreshadowings of tragedy or triumph. This is no different."

The Crown season 6 (Netflix)
The Crown season 6 (Netflix)

Hilton also remarked that the series has "run out of road" and "has less to say than ever" about British sentiment now compared to previous seasons.

The Telegraph's Anita Singh remarked that the series had reached a "creative dead end" in the first half of its sixth season, calling the inclusion of Diana's ghost an "act of desperation" on the part of show creator Peter Morgan.

In particular, Singh criticises Morgan's depiction of the late Queen, writing: "The Crown completes its demolition job on the late Queen’s character, a six-series arc which has taken us from Claire Foy’s bright young woman to Imelda Staunton’s sour old boot."

Time's Judy Berman called the four episodes a "new low" for the series, calling the inclusion of Diana's and her companion Dodi Fayed's ghosts the show's "worst creative decision to date".

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown (Netflix)
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown (Netflix)

Berman wrote: "Morgan seems desperate to wring meaning out of Diana’s death—so desperate that he invents for her and Dodi a magical 11th-hour epiphany and three discrete hauntings. Unfortunately, none of that behind-the-scenes speculation adds up to a shred of novel insight."

Read more: Everything you need to know about The Crown season 6

BBC's Caryn James offers more rounded criticism, focusing on issues with Dominic West's casting as Prince Charles and Debicki's performance as Diana which James says is too "wrapped in mimicry" even if she is the highlight of the series.

James, who gave the series a two star rating, adds: "Morgan's elegant writing and penetrating, speculative psychology have been immensely intriguing, a joy to watch over the years. Too often in these predictable last seasons, though, we could have written the story ourselves."

The Crown season 6 part one is out on Netflix now, part two will premiere on Thursday, 14 December.

Watch the trailer for The Crown season 6 part one: