Friday, June 13, 2008

Maggie, Denis and Ted - the prequel

Amongst the hubbub of the Davis implosion, I managed last night to watch "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley" on BBC4.

It was a beautiful production and I recommend watching it when it is repeated tonight at 10pm on BBC4 or here on iPlayer.

The play centres on Thatcher's personal life and early political career, especially her many attempts to become a Conservative candidate in a winnable seat in Kent. It gives a fascinating perspective on her relationship with Denis and Ted Heath. It ends when she enters Parliament.

So, it is possible to suspend one's political faculties and enjoy this portrait of Thatcher before she turned into the Milk Snatcher (About which there was a reference "When I am elected every child will have milk at school") etc etc. (There was also a little reference to Africa. The boy Mark, aged about six, asks his mother "Will I go to Africa?" to which she replies "Yes, I expect so"..."Where is it?"..."You'll find out")

Margaret Thatcher was charmingly (if a little over the top) played by Andrea Riseborough (above in character) . There's a wonderful cast of actors involved (listed below).

To see "Margaret Thatcher" administering a "handbagging" to her predecessor as MP for Finchley, Sir John Crowder (played by Geoffrey Palmer), was pure joy.

There's a review of the programme here in the Independent.

Margaret Thatcher ...... Andrea Riseborough
Ted Heath ...... Samuel West
Denis Thatcher ...... Rory Kinnear
Sir John Crowder ...... Geoffrey Palmer
Sir Donald Kaberry ...... Oliver Ford Davies
Alfred Roberts ...... Philip Jackson
Sir Waldron Smithers ...... Michael Cochrane
Patricia Hornsby-Smith ...... Sylvestra Le Touzel
John Miller ...... Michael Gould
Stanley Soward ...... Jonathan Aris

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