Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Week of Thatcher Mania Beckons

It seems to be Margaret Thatcher season at the BBC. On June 12th we have MARGARET THATCHER: THE LONG MARCH TO FINCHLEY and a Thatcher special DINNER WITH PORTILLO, but before that, this Sunday we can look forward to another Michael Cockerell special on THE MAKING OF THE IRON LADY. Here's the BBC press release which has just been issued.

"Mum was the best man for the job" – says Mark Thatcher

Lady Thatcher's son Mark claims his mother was 'the best man for the job' of prime minister in an exclusive interview for a new BBC TV documentary which goes out this Sunday. Sir Mark Thatcher agreed to talk for the first time on television to political documentary maker Michael Cockerell. Called the making of the Iron Lady, the programme shows how Mrs Thatcher fought her way to the top in a man's world to become the West's first female prime minister. Sir Mark recalls how mother's motto was 'never a wasted moment'. ' I remember how she used to come home from Westminster and immediately start cooking the dinner. And I would go up to her and say "you know mum it's okay – you can take your coat off now'.

The documentary includes film of Mrs Thatcher giving her own first television interview in 1960, with her then six-year old twins, Mark and Carol perched on the sofa watching. 'I remember when the TV crew came down for that interview', says Sir Mark. ' It was the first time I realised that my mum was not the like my schoolfriends' mothers: she was clearly something out of the ordinary'.
Sir Mark reveals that his father, Denis was very worried when Mrs Thatcher announced that she was going to run for the Tory leadership against Ted Heath in 1975. 'My father's concern was that if she stood she would poll very badly amongst the Conservative members. And that would damage her political reputation for ever.'

In fact Mrs Thatcher who'd started the contest as a rank outsider romped to victory in the leadership contest. The programme shows the key role played by her leadership campaign manager and oldest political friend Airey Neave. But four years later Neave was assassinated by Irish terrorists in the Commons. 'My mother was deeply, deeply distressed', says Mark Thatcher. 'Of all the things which happened to her, Airey Neave's s death was the most tragic event that she had to face in her entire career in politics.'

Asked by Cockerell how he thought his mother had managed, against all the odds, to become the first woman prime minister in Western world, Sir Mark replies: 'My perspective as her son is very straightforward - she was the best man for the job.' Michael Cockerell says: 'For the documentary I wanted to speak to those who had been closest to her – as sadly Lady Thatcher no longer gives TV interviews, on doctors' orders. And I knew her son was less than keen on the media. But I worked hard to assure Mark Thatcher that I wanted his first-hand account of how his mother became Prime Minister. To my agreeable surprise to he agreed to the interview'.

'The Making of the Iron Lady' goes out on BBC 4 at 9pm this Sunday.
I've already set my video (haven't got Sky Plus yet, despite Michael Parkinson's blandishments).

34 comments:

Judge Elvis said...

Just make sure you don't put in any of your Eurovision tapes Iain...

simon said...

Sod the telly programmes- i want the Roger Moore biography of The Lady- NOW! It's due out next year! Fook. I'll pre-order it on amazon.

The Heresiarch said...

My guess is they've twigged Cameron is going to romp home in 2010 and they want to do some buttering up in the hope that the Tories will somehow forget decades of pro-Labour bias and "progressive" propaganda. Fat chance.

Neil Reddin said...

Hmmm. The BBC on Margaret Thatcher - I will try to keep my foreboding in check until I've seen the output, though with them putting Portillo in the mix as well I'm not encouraged - couldn't they find a Conservative?

The Odyssey said...

"Haven't got Sky plus yet": Get Tivo, or better still XBOX360 with media centre. Don't pay Rupert Murdoch any more money than you need too, plus loads easier to put your stolen content online.

Anonymous said...

I trust we will also hear from the daughter who is probably more astute than the brother.

iain dale's underpants said...

No one knows we're a Tory

Daniel Earwicker said...

Also repeats of the Thatcher-centric 'Tory! Tory! Tory!', the Alan Clark diaries, Portillo's 'The Lady's Not for Spurning', The Falklands Play, and a five hour (!) run of archive footage called "Decision '79".

trevorsden said...

The BBCs version of history seems to be on about a par with the rubbish they put out about Mary Whitehouse. The look a pretty misogynistic bunch.

These programmes are no more than 'Carry on ... whoever".

Anonymous said...

Maybe they made a job lot of progs, thinking she was going to pop her clogs, and now have to use them up before they go past their 'sell by date' since she shows no signs of turning up her toes for a good few years yet.

I actually think she is going for the ultimate accolade and do it in the same week as Her Maj, to steal her thunder...

Anonymous said...

Andrew Marr will also be covering Margaret Thatcher this week in the re-run of his History of Modern Britain.

The Raven said...

The Heresiarch, either that, or they are so worried by the Tories winning that they are chucking on any programme that might make them look bad, or make people recall Tories they don't like from the past.

It's a bit like going "Tories, torieeeeees" and making ghost noises.

tapestry said...

The Airey Neave assassination is still a puzzle. The INLA admit they carried out the operation that killed Neave, but are adamant that they did not do the surveillance work that made the attack possible.

They claim that they were fed the information from the 'inside'.

Was Neave murdered for being strongly eurosceptic? Had he lived would Maggie have signed the Single European Act? - probably not. He was a crucial figure to eliminate for the European programme to be imposed on Britain.

tapestry said...

Enoch Powell had robust views. Less well known are his foreign policy statements when he was an Ulster Unionist MP. He believed the Cold War was a sham in which Russia was not a threat to the West as it depended on the USA for its grain, and Russia at no point had any intention of carrying out aggressive war against the west.

The USA used the spectre of the Cold War to push along the creation of the EU to create a political wing to NATO, to keep pressure on the Soviet Union.

From WIKI

In Powell's later career as an Ulster Unionist MP he continued to criticise the United States and claimed that the Americans were trying to persuade the British to push Northern Ireland into an all-Ireland state because the condition for Irish membership of NATO, Powell claimed, was Northern Ireland.

The Americans wanted to close the 'yawning gap' in NATO defence that was the southern Irish coast to northern Spain. Powell claimed he had a copy of a State Department Policy Statement from the 15th August 1950 in which the American government allegedly said that the 'agitation' caused by partition in Ireland 'lessens the usefulness of Ireland in international organisations and complicates strategic planning for Europe'. 'It is desirable', the document continued, 'that Ireland should be integrated into the defense planning of the North Atlantic area, for its strategic position and present lack of defensive capacity are matters of significance'.[14]

In 1984, Powell also claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency had murdered Lord Louis Mountbatten and that the deaths of the MPs Airey Neave and Robert Bradford were by the Americans in order to stop Neave's policy of integration for Northern Ireland.[15] Then in 1986 he again argued that Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) had not killed Airey Neave but 'MI6 and their friends' were responsible instead.[16]

Anonymous said...

Spot on "The Heresiarch" 5:30pm

Watch the BBC leopard try to change its spots. No matter how hard they scrub they won't be able to hide their real thoughts.

Anonymous said...

A very astute move by the cleverer lefties at the Beeb. The more they put out films of Thatcher - maybe with Cameron slavering all over her - the more people will go back to Labour.

You do realise we're not all Thatcherites now?

Still Socialist said...

Meanwhile on BBC Scotland are showing a prorgramme on North Sea oil highlighting how there's plenty left and the UK Government sat on a report which concluded that it would make an independent Scotland thrive.

Is the BBC deliberately trying to help the Tories in England and the Nats in Scotland?

Simon Harley said...

I like how the BBC describes Neave's assasination. He was killed driving out of the New Palace of Westminister yet the beeb blurb says he was killed in the Commons - quite how a car bomb would kill him in the House of Commons I don't know. I just can't understand why people can't be bothered to describe things properly.

Anonymous said...

Just like the BBC to try to start putting out the subliminal message. "Remember the dark days.... get back in the fold behind Gordon or this is what will happen to your effort-free taxpayer funded lifestyles"

Devon Farmer said...

At least with lots of programmes about Thatcher people will remember how disasterous a Tory Government will be. That woman did so much damage we should never forget.

Anonymous said...

Anyone watch the BBC Scotland documentary last night which showed that Thatcher's economic raping of Scotland was almost completely funded by Scottish oil??

Ahh the irony. Oh well don't worry Westminster won't have to worry about the 'burden' of Scotland for too much longer.

Max said...

Its interesting how polarised people's opions remain of Margaret Thatcher's government.

As someone who lived through the dark days of Wilson and Callaghan, the pay freeze, borrowing from the IMF and the winter of discontent, I can take a balanced view. But many who criticise Thatcher today weren't even born in 1979.

By comparison, what do people really think of Gordon Brown's premiership? I'm running a poll on my blog, please take a few seconds to drop by and vote.

Max
http://theerrorlog.blogspot.com

trevorsden said...

Yes Devon - Thatchers reforms were so despicable the Labour Party have still not repealed them.

Scotland? More whinges? Look at the subsidies Scotland has and still gets from England. Most of the oil belongs to the Shetlands anyway.

I have to say this thread has degenerated into a load of the most pathetic conspiracy nut theories.

The fact is the BBC have produced a work of comedy fiction dressed up as biography - again.

Scipio said...

God, has she died?

Scipio said...

Devon Farmer - get back to your sheep!

Thatcher's damage was what exactly? On I know, council house sales which created a property owning democracy, curbing the trade unions which saved the economy, restructuring the economy which created the best functioning wealth-creating economy in Europe, taking on the USSR which led to the end of the cold war and an opportunity for international security - and the left wing of British politics accepting that she was right all along!

The only three things she didn't get right were the poll tax, not seeing through the lies when she signed the SEA, and not sending in the SAS to take out the IRA army council. If you were being picky, you could also perhaps say she didn't leave office early enough to plaudits rather than in rancour. But on the whole, she was probably one of the best PMs in history.

Little Black Sambo said...

Devon Farmer: so you think the Labour Government have been better? And you are a FARMER? You must be producing something pretty unusual.

Oscar Miller said...

I see absolutely no sign that the BBC are "buttering up" the Tories in the expectation of Conservative victory at the next GE. Quite the opposite. I think they're doing everything they can to avert what the majority of them would view as a catastrophe. Since Gordon Brown came to power the tendency to 'disappear' the opposition from major news programmes - in particular the Today programme - has become ever more pronounced. We get endless Labour people talking to left wing interest groups of one kind and another. It's become the Left and Lefter show. Yesterday WATO - which used to be one of the better programmes - relegated David Cameron to the last five minutes of the show (on a poor line) and ensured that Conservative proposals to allow charities to run public services and make a surplus was savaged by a Labour spokesperson before Cameron was permitted to have his say. The Daily Politics, which used to give a fair balance to all the parties, has now become the Daily Labour Party. The BBC is literally squeezing the opposition out of the political narrative. The dramas about the 1980s and Margaret Thatcher is the BBCs attempt to raise the spectre of 'Thatcher's Britain' - which has been so successfully trashed and demonised, as a warning against voting Tory. If the Conservatives are to succeed, it will take more than the general 'booing' of Gordon Brown. Their voice needs to be heard - their policies need to be heard - they need to become the kind of political force that new Labour so effectively became in the 1990s (without resorting to nuLabs dirty tricks).

Oscar Miller said...

You do realise we're not all Thatcherites now?

June 04, 2008 10:42 PM


But Gordon Brown is of course a fully signed up Thatcherite. Remember his stunt posing with the Lady in fuschia pink on the steps of No 10 - back in those glory days of the Brown bounce? Labour - as with so many other issues - have now irrecoverably muddied the political waters. No-one knows what on earth Gordon Brown stands for or believes in - other than the desperate desire to hang on to power.

Anonymous said...

Simon Harley said...
"I like how the BBC describes Neave's assasination. He was killed driving out of the New Palace of Westminister yet the beeb blurb says he was killed in the Commons"

All the BBC blurbs I have seen say that he was killed driving out of the House of Commons car park, which is correct. He was on the car park ramp.

Anonymous said...

Trevorsden obviously didn’t watch the programme “truth, lies and oil” on BBC Scotland (available on BBCiplayer). He is the archetypal scaremongering unionist. Scotland won’t be fooled this time round.

Its great Maggy is on the telly so much, she was hands down the best recruiting agent for Scottish independence.

con-trari-wise said...

Let's see what happens to the Tory lead in the polls then if we've got a season on the old bat ahead.

I expect DC will need to get his brand detoxifier back pdq!

Anonymous said...

Simon Harley said... "I like how the BBC describes Neave's assasination. He was killed driving out of the New Palace of Westminister yet the beeb blurb says he was killed in the Commons"

Where do the BBC say that? I can't find it anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Simon Harley said .. "the beeb blurb says he was killed in the Commons"

Anon said ... "Where do the BBC say that? I can't find it anywhere."

It's in the BBC press release quoted by Iain - ".. But four years later Neave was assassinated by Irish terrorists in the Commons."

The press release doesn't actually say the Commons chamber. He was assassinated in the Commons underground car park exit.

Anonymous said...

Simon Harley said...
"He was killed driving out of the New Palace of Westminister ... I just can't understand why people can't be bothered to describe things properly."

Or how they can't be bothered to spell Westminster correctly.