LDV Weekend Meme: five favourite political TV dramas

by Stephen Tall on June 14, 2009

It’s Sunday, sunny and the elections are over – so why not indulge in the latest LDV meme: what’s your favourite political TV drama? Mine, in reverse order:

5. State of Play – tense and taut, journalism mixed with politics. Fab writer (Paul Abbott), wonderful cast (David Morrissey, John Simm, Kelly McDonald, Bill Nighy), great drama.

4. A Very British Coup
– slightly dated, but still enjoyable, Chris Mullin’s story of a socialist Labour government doing battle with the British establishment in the ’80s is both funny and plausible. Sublime performance by Ray McAnally as Sheffield steel-worker Harry Perkins.

3. The House of Cards – the famous coincidence of the first series airing simultaneously with Margaret Thatcher’s dramatic downfall earned the show’s place in telly folklore; but it stands the test of time, and Ian Richardson’s menacing portrayal and asides to camera (“You might very well think that, I couldn’t possibly comment”) is mesmerising.

2. GBH – fantastically written by Alan Bleasdale and quite superbly acted by Robert Lindsay, Michael Palin and Lindsay Duncan, this is the definitive British political drama, capturing perfectly the interplay of cock-up and conspiracy, high and low politics, and good and bad intentions which govern this country.

1. The West Wing – quite simply the best written and best acted drama series ever broadcast. (If you ignore Season 5 anyway). Most of us owe our scant knowledge of the US political system to TWW, which somehow managed to make even the dryest of legislative process into gripping, witty, perceptive dialogue. Here’s one of my favourite clips, from Democrat President Bartlet’s TV debate with Republican challenger Governor Ritchie – enjoy:

And I’m tagging all Lib Dem bloggers, but especially last week’s Golden Dozen bloggers: Alex Wilcock, Nich Starling, James Graham, Mark Valladares, ‘Costigan Quist’, Caron Lindsay, Lisa Harding and Jonathan Calder.