I can't decide if I enjoyed that or not. In some ways it was a gross caricature, in others it was a pretty accurate portrayal of a political assassination. The trouble with political dramas based on real events is that they inevitably involve a large degree of exaggeration - because, after all, they have to be dramatic.
Some of the characterisations in this drama were superb. Who would have thought that John Sessions would be able to play Geoffrey Howe with any degree of accuracy. He even got the voice spot on. The actor who played Heseltine was also manically on the money. Others were less unconvincing. To have the suave Lord Ashfordley from Heartbeat cast as the red faced (and many other things besides...) Peter Morrison was a joke.
The flashbacks worked very well, and as a bit of a student of this period of Conservative history, I think it was actually very accurate in the way it portrayed many of the events leading up to Mrs T's departure. But I am not sure it added much to our understanding of them. It was irritating to see Ted Heath in a luxurious Leader of the Opposition's office, when in reality that office is nothing of the sort. It was irritating to see only 16 chairs around the Cabinet table, when in reality there were more than 20. The rooms depicted in the Palace of Westminster bore absolutely no resemblance to the real ones. But perhaps I am quibbling too much.
Lindsay Duncan's performance as Margaret Thatcher was in some ways quite amazing. She grew into her character as the programme went on, but there was always a feeling that she was hamming it up a bit. Some of the rows and temper tantrums were just totally OTT. If some of the other characters hadn't been so accurately portrayed, maybe this wouldn't have mattered, but somehow it did. It was, to be sure, a sympathetic performance from Duncan, and perhaps for the general viewer, it was that which did indeed provide something new. It allowed people to empathise with Margaret Thatcher in a way they had perhaps never done before. I suspect even some on the left felt a pang of sympathy, albeit momentarily. I'll be genuinely interested to see what Tom Harris made of it.
I don't know what I was expecting from this programme, but whatever it was, I am writing this feeling slightly disappointed.