Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Very British Coup Rewound

Sadie Smith of Total Politics has reviewed the reissue on DVD of this great political classic of the late 20th Century. The original book written by Chris Mullen MP  to my mind is up there with House of Cards. I enjoyed the style and literacy of Sadie's article and I will confess I had not watched this series since its original broadcast. My difficulty is that Sadie dismissed the work as a sort of left wing chick flick, a fantasy of the 80's left. I said in response to her article (which is here): "If my memory is accurate  however then I would disagree with the analysis at a number of levels. The most important point is that when reviewing an historical work from the 1980's its important to do more than look up the date when the Berlin Wall fell. There has to be some valid reference to events and attitudes at the time of screening. Its also important when reviewing a screenplay not to assume that the author of the book (Chris Mullen MP) had total control over the screenplay". Alan Platter in fact deserves a good mention too. I went on "Having read the book (a deliberate comedy) and watched the TV series (a dark and insightful reflection of the times) I can tell you they are quite different creations. I am guessing that Sadie is too young to remember the period so this tells us more about her current (understandable and valid) views than the drama itself." I have now begun to watch the series again, its here by the way on Channel 4 if you want to refresh your memory.
Lets move on from Sadie then, however reluctantly. Looked at from the other side of a Labour Government which Chris Mullen's PM Harry Perkins would have seen as left wing Tory Government (if such a thing is possible post Heath) A Very British Coup is a serious reminder of the way we where in the early 80's. It is; sumptuous, stylish; a period costume drama of the highest standards. I remember when watching it then wondering if we would ever see a Labour Government of any kind in my lifetime. I was to wait nearly a generation. I don't share the view that the Blair/Brown Government was a sell out or a total disaster although morally, as always, and common to all previous Governments of all hues, it had blood on its hands, in our case, in the Middle East. Is it possible to have a British Government that is different?, Well, this is the story of one that tried to be. Its power of prophesy is outstanding. The Dirty Digger plays a major role and is even mentioned by name along with his creature The Sun. Don't rely on me or Sadie, do the unthinkable, go here or buy the DVD and watch it yourself. I would be interested to know if different generations to mine found this excellent piece of drama as fascinating and enjoyable as I still do.

1 comment:

  1. Last night we had a film night showing of this work by our students and it was really interesting to hear the very positive views of another generation. Many were quite impressed by this "might have been" work but less surprised by the possibility that big brother is listening, indeed we had "big Murdock media" listening then and now to consider.