I know. This is the sort of post which, if it appeared elsewhere, I would have posted a comment like, "and yes, breaking news, Mafeking has been relieved" It's a day or two later than the rest, but I want to say:
The BBC's drama "Margaret", charting the rise and fall of one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers, was great entertainment and a fantastic employment opportunity for out of work actors who play "patrician" roles. As to whether or not it was true to the reality of politics, you will have to ask Mrs T, or better still, ask Tom Harris who is not only an MP and former minister, but an articulate blogger. To some extent, we think we know. "The thick of it" struck such a chord of reality, this show clearly has to nod in its direction - but without the laughs.
Which brings me to the crux. It had no laughs. It had no depth. This was no Shakespearean tragedy, this was melodrama. It played on one note: it was predicated on the wicked Spitting Image sketch in which Mrs Thatcher is dining out with the cabinet. She orders and the waitress says, "And what about the vegetables" and Thatcher says, "They'll have what I am having" In other words, the film portrayed the Thatcher Cabinet as sycophantic, venal, pusilanimous and above all, incapable of independent thought. I find it impossible to believe this is true!
The most idiosyncratic and therefore the most interesting performance, was that of Michael Maloney as John Major, who was made out to be more of a Bond Villain than a Prime Minister in waiting. He only needed to be stroking a cat and the whole thing would have been hilarious. James Fox did a superb, eyebrow raising Roger Moore impression as Charles Powell, with a bit of upper class gurning for variety. As for Mrs Thatcher, I met her once, for about five minutes. Charisma is not the word; aura more like, and besides Steve Nallon does Thatcher and that's the one I remember and cherish. Lindsay Duncan simply lacked the charm, warmth and a sort of everywoman glow that Mrs T seemed to have. (It was in the script, but it did not come across in the performance.)
I got very confused at one point because the chronology got shifted often, and with little signposting. There was no reference to the Brighton bomb, which to me would have given the programme the depth it was clearly lacking.