Viewers of hit Netflix series The Crown could be in danger of mistaking fact for fiction without a warning at the start of episodes, the Culture Secretary has said.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), praised the drama centred around the royal family as a "beautifully produced work of fiction".

The show, which has been produced at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, premiered its fourth season last month that portrays the beginnings of the Prince Charles and Princess Diana's relationship.

But Mr Dowden raised concerns that younger viewers might mistake fictional depictions for real-life happenings.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that.

Watford Observer:

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he fears viewers could mistake fiction for fact. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

“Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

He is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his view. Mr Dowden’s remarks come after a similar suggestion from Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.

He told ITV’s Lorraine: "I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that: ‘This isn’t true but it is based around some real events’."

He added: "I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair."

Watford Observer:

Earl Spencer has said he worries people think The Crown "is gospel" Credit: Yui Mok/PA

The drama recently came in for criticism from the widow of a major killed in a Swiss ski resort, who said she was "very upset" to learn the disaster features in the latest series, after asking producers not to include it.

Major Hugh Lindsay, a friend of the Prince of Wales and a former Queen’s equerry, died in an avalanche at the Swiss resort of Klosters in 1988.

His widow Sarah Horsley said she was "horrified" when she was told the episode was going ahead and was concerned about the impact on her daughter.