The Patriot Resource TV Series

BBC Thatcher
BBC The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher
Approximately 280 minutes

From BBC Video:
These three outstand BBC productions protray the political career of margaret Thatcher from her fight to get selected for a "winnable" Tory seat to her handling of the Falklands War and finally to her last days in power. The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher provides a unique insight into the fascinating life of one of the most significant political figures in British history.

From The Patriot Resource:
This collection includes three different BBC productions from the past decade. The Long Walk to Finchley focuses on a young Thatcher's struggles to get her political career going. The second, The Falklands Play, concentrates on the first crisis of Thatcher's Premiership - The Falkland Islands War. The last, Margaret, charts the end of her time as Prime Minister and head of the Tory party.

Not being overly familiar with Thatcher's life and political career, we found each presentation very interesting. These presentations did have more than a small share of dramatized content which mostly seemed to have a particular slant. Keeping that lack of balance in mind, we nonetheless found each production fascinating and spurring us to learn more about the life and career of Margaret Thatcher. Each presentation has its own style, yet they all in infinitely watchable. Considering politics lies at the heart of each presentation, they are well-paced and well-written so that our attention never wandered and we even came away wishing there had been more. Read on for more about each presentation.

Margaret Thatcher - The Long Walk to Finchley:
From BBC Video:
Margaret Roberts is an ambitious twenty-something research chemist on the first rungs of the ladder to Parliament. But is the Conservative Party ready for a young woman to speak her mind? The Long Walk to Finchley imagines what Thatcher's journey to power might have been like.

From The Patriot Resource:
This presentation starts with a clear note indicating it was what the writer imagined the start of Thatcher's policital career might have been. The writer's imagination seemed to have followed a tongue-in-cheek tone. Thatcher's husband Denis is portrayed as bumbling and awkward so much so that we're left no choice but to assume that Margaret's marriage to him was merely a means to further her political careed by allowing her to study for the bar. Her family repeatedly takes a backseat to her attempts to break into politics, except where family might be used to further her political efforts. Thatcher's predecessor in Tory leadership, Edward Heath also comes across as a near caricature, yet imminently watchable.

We took away the impression that the filmmakers were not exactly fans of either Mrs. Thatcher or Mr. Heath. Even with the apparent slant to the storytelling, we couldn't help but enjoy the humor as well as the few dramatic moments meant to show the steel and determination that Margaret Thatcher would come be known for thanks to solid writing and the quality of acting performances. As Mrs. Roberts/Thatcher, Andrea Riseborough does a wonderful job of portraying an politically ambitious, but inexperienced woman who shows flashes of the steel and mettle that came to define Margaret Thatcher.

The Falklands Play:
From BBC Video:
The Falklands Play portrays the backroom story of the Falklands War. The play, once deemed too controversial to produce, provides a gripping account of how Margaret Thatcher and her government faced one of the biggest crises in British foreign affairs.

From The Patriot Resource:
This presentation has a gritty, documentary feel to it. With that rawness comes the more humanizing portrayal of Thatcher from the three presentations. She's portrayed as looking to avoid conflict and bloodshed as long as she can without compromising Britain's sovereignty. After hostilities break out, she emotional and moved by the casualties. A bit of humor - whether intentional or not - can be found in the portrayal of President Reagan, Secretary of State Haig and his aides. Though tireless, they are largely useless to the resolution of the crisis. The piece really does have the intimacy of a play with a few performers in closely staged scenes. The actual military operations all take place off-screen and even those only take place during the last few minutes of the presentation. Again, the presentation gave us a taste of a political crisis that we only knew by name and left us wanting to learn even more. To us, that's the hallmark of a well-done historical drama.

Margaret: Thatcher's astonishing downfall was one of the most extraordinary stories of political assassination ever seen. This intimate portrayal shows the private figure behind the public persona as she loses the one thing she really cares about - power.

From The Patriot Resource:
Margaret is like watching a train wreck. We know how it'll end, but no matter how messy it gets, we are drawn to continue watching. Thatcher doesn't recognize the seriousness of the threat until its too late. Those of her inner circle who do, shield Thatcher from it. Thatcher here is portrayed as cold, out-of-touch and essentially having overstayed her welcome. She quickly terminates visiting the tea rooms to engage the backbenchers as she had done when she first made a play for leadership fifteen years before - because in her words, she's shouldn't have to anymore.

Thatcher has a couple of other meltdowns while she refuses to admit the inevitable. Because of this, she is bluntly confronted with mass defections and others looking out for their own political lives when she had expected unwavering loyalty. This presentation gave us a fascinating tease of the political maneuverings of a parliamentary party deciding who will be the country's next political leader. Just imagine the next US President being appointed that way.

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