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Quality muckraking that is - for the informed - full of guilty laughs.
Fact is stranger than fiction. That is a cliché - I know - but that doesn't mean it is no longer true. When we have said, in the past, that the Labour Home Secretary is in bed with the right wing press we usually mean metaphorically, however in the case of David Blunkett it was more a case of the literal.
His affair with a married publisher (Kimblerly Quinn) - who he later had a love child with - had many scratching their heads. Those looking for extra detail here will be disappointed and I felt no further on in my search for rhythm or reason in the coupling - although in the case of Quinn (skilfully played by Victoria Hamilton whose main beat is the theatre) they say that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
(Even when power is held by a pudding faced middle aged man with a beard whose voice changes volume greatly to emphasise points.)
The writer of A Very Social Secretary (Jon Jones) must have been like a lifelong car driver sat on a bullet train for the first time - life writing the drama and the satire at 250 mph and he only needs to write it down. Ninety minutes is not enough and a lot has to be left out - we never see DB in a single cabinet meeting, for example.
(One comedian said that political satire was a cheat anyway: "I only listen to what they say and do and report upon it.")
For the non British viewer (and I can't be sure there ever will be) and the non politics watcher what goes on will strike as strange and unlikely. The script goes beyond the known in portraying the blind (but hardly dumb) Blunkett as unskilled between the sheets and this is perhaps insulting. We all look slightly comic in sexual situations and the camera lingers for easy laughs.
He was hardly a virgin having raised a family by his first wife and never a believer that his blindness should prevent him from doing anything short of driving a car. For a politician he was fond of telling people the cold hard truth - not being able to see the reaction probably helping.
Bernard Hill is very good in the lead role - a sighted man playing the blind in a straight way and letting the comedy come from situation rather than injecting it himself. Thankfully the good is shown as well as the bad - starting with the fact that he never let go of his Northern roots and returns to carry out surgeries in his home town of Sheffield.
I had never thought of TV's "Citizen Smith" (Robert Lindsay) as being a natural Tony Blair but he does a good job. Today his haircut matches and he doesn't lay it on too thick like most impersonators do. Thankfully he is portrayed as he really is - a me-first PM who likes a nice handout and blesses Margaret Thatcher everyday for all the dirty work she has done for him. An intellectual mediocrity but blessed with more common-sense and more street knowledge than most politicians. A guy who grew his hair long and dreamt of rock stardom, but ended up (by a route even more unlikely than this) in No.10. What a crazy world we live in!
Should we laugh at other people's misfortunes? I feel bad about it myself and still feel bad about it when politicians are involved. The whole sorry matter shows that for some people affairs of the trousers are of greater importance than affairs of State.
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