1 9 9 5 (UK)
3 x 75 minute episodes
The life of Flora Matlock (Juliet Stevenson) is turned upside down when it is revealed that her husband Duncan (Trevor Eve, who is magnificent in the role), a Tory MP, has been having an affair with an assistant who is also a former prostitute (Minnie Driver).
The premise of The Politician’s Wife – the fallout from media revelations of a government minister’s adulterous affair – was very topical at the time.
A number of high-ranking politicians were embroiled in sexual scandals in the wake of Prime Minister John Major‘s ill-advised ‘Back to Basics’ morality campaign, and in 1994, the year before the programme’s broadcast, several had been forced to resign.
But the drama shifts its focus to Flora’s revenge on her arrogant, chauvinistic husband.
Duncan’s aide and most trusted ally, Mark Hollister (Anton Lesser), is gay and repulsed by his boss’s homophobia. And so he instigates a plan to involve Flora to bring about her husband’s downfall.
As the machinations of their elaborate and melodramatic scheme come centre-stage, the story comes to resemble the more overtly satirical House of Cards (1990) minus the laughs.
Flora’s plan to destroy Duncan succeeds, but it also results in the death of her kindly father, Clive (Frederick Treves), and ironically also leads her to become a Tory MP, having proved her mettle to the party grandees by her cynical single-mindedness.
Sir Donald Frazier
Stand By Him | Echo Chamber | Body Politic