"Any resemblance to any individual, living or dead, is purely coincidental,” it used to say after the final credits of Neighbours, or Home and Away. Yet recently, any concern over events from people’s real lives making their way into entertainment content seems to have evaporated.
The trend to fictionalise – or dramatise – the existence of well-known people has grown, fuelled, perhaps, by the advent of reality television. The public need to see behind the facade of public personas to reveal the previously private sordid details of daily life is insatiable.
Australian cricketer Shane Warne, who died in March, is the latest celebrity set to get the dramatisation treatment of his colourful life. The sportsman’s family has spoken out about Australia’s Nine Network’s plans to turn Warne’s successes and scandals into a telemovie – just months after his death.
"Do any of you have any respect for Dad? Or his family?" Brooke Warne, 25, wrote on Instagram.
In the wake of the Queen’s death, the latest series of The Crown, due to hit our screens in November, may also make uncomfortable viewing for some – not least the royal family themselves.
Covering the John Major government years, the turmoil of Diana and Prince Charles' marriage breakdown and the death of Diana in 1997, Queen Elizabeth may not be portrayed in quite the unshakably positive light that has dominated coverage of her life in recent days.
American author Curtis Sittenfeld pushed far beyond the usual boundaries of the personal life of former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her 2020 novel Rodham, which not only dramatised Ms Clinton’s life, but fictionalised it entirely, creating a story based upon the premise of what would have happened if she had not married Bill and instead become president herself.
Intimate descriptions of what-could-have-been versions of their personal lives sat somewhat uncomfortably against the knowledge that Mr and Ms Clinton – as well as their daughter – could read the text.
It is easy to forget when dealing with those in the public eye that they have feelings and families and all of that which goes along with being an ordinary human being. Because that’s what they are.