Thatcher as a Tragic Heroine

The Birmingham Post (England), March 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Thatcher as a Tragic Heroine


Byline: sarah evans

It's done nothing to revive the tarnished reputation of politicians as a whole, but two BBC dramas last week about Margaret Thatcher started the long overdue process of raising our erstwhile leader from the demonic depth into which she has been flung to tragic heroine status.

It's helped of course that there was little attempt in either drama to explore politics in the sense of policies, but every attempt to explore politics in the sense of power struggle. It was this that allowed Margaret Thatcher, the character, to take on the mantle of Shakespearean tragic protagonist, played out with padded shoulders, nipped-in waist and structured handbags.

Lindsay Duncan's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher was utterly mesmerising.

(She is a Birmingham offspring, educated at King Edward V1 High School for Girls.) You simply could not help but wonder why the entire country hadn't voted for her forever. This effect was achieved through a combination of Lindsay Duncan's beauty and the totally ghastly male politicians who surrounded her.

To a man, they were arrogant, spineless, disloyal and overweight. And there was Margaret, magnificently alone, not one of them, not part of their club, a woman and an ordinary woman - as she practised pointing out in one scene - a mother and a wife while governing the country.

Andrea Riseborough as the young Margaret in 'The Long Walk to Finchley' was similarly captivating. And similarly up against a wall, fighting alone against the jowly male establishment. …

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