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The BBC Defends Controversial New Royal Drama 'King Charles III'

The program has been called "distasteful."
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The BBC has released a statement in defense of upcoming royal drama King Charles III following an admission from cast member Oliver Chris that a scene involving Princess Diana's ghost is "pretty shocking."

The one-off BBC2 drama is adapted from the award-winning West End and Broadway play of the same title, and features the portrayal of a future royal family at war when Prince Charles accedes the throne.

Oliver Chris, who plays the Duke of Cambridge, insisted that the scene featuring the late Diana as an apparition wasn't "gratuitous."

"Some people will bridle at it, but I hope it's done with enough intelligence and sensitivity not to be gratuitous," he told the Radio Times.

"I'm very conscious that it's a real person and a real family."

The production's Olivier award-winning director Rupert Gould acknowledged that the sensitive nature of the drama had created some challenges for the state broadcaster, adding that: "Given what things could have been like, the BBC was very good."

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"And you have to remember that even with the stage version, we'd been through long conversations with lawyers and certain actors refusing to be involved because of how it might affect their future relationship with the honours system."

Meanwhile, Tory Member of Parliament Andrew Bridgen branded the program "distasteful."

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"It's unfortunate the BBC would seek to promote this flight of fantasy, which many licence-fee payers will find distasteful and which I believe denigrates and undermines our royal family," he told the Mail on Sunday. "I hope that the BBC will make clear that the production is pure fiction."

The BBC responded with the following statement (via The Guardian): "The public know the difference between fact and fiction and King Charles III is a one-off BBC2 drama of the award-winning fictional play."

The 2014 play, by Mike Bartlett, begins after the funeral of Elizabeth II, and sees Prince Charles hold his first weekly audience with the Prime Minister. He refuses to sign a new bill attempting to restrict the freedom of the press following the recent phone hacking scandal.

It also sees the Duchess of Cambridge, played by Peaky Blinders star Charlotte Riley, trying to force the Duke to take on Charles, while Prince Harry wants to defect from royalty and become a commoner.

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Tim Pigott-Smith, who reprised his acclaimed and Olivier-nominated stage role as Charles, sadly passed away last month.

King Charles III airs on BBC2 on May 10 at 9 p.m.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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