Friday, March 20, 2009

Ian Richardson.
Have any of you been watching 'House of cards'?

I have watched it before and I find it fascinating.

It is a political thriller, written by Michael Dobbs, a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party headquarters.

It is set at the end of Margaret Thatcher's term as Prime Minister, in 1990

The one person who excels in this is Francis Urquhart, played by Ian Richardson.

He is spellbinding, you cannot believe that a person could get away with the things he has done.

Lets take the opening of the 'House of Cards'
Francis Urquhart, (who is a Chief whip) Ian Richardson, is sitting at his desk with a picture of Mrs. Thacher, he looks at it and says:

"Nothing lasts forever. Even the longest, the most glittering reign must come to an end someday."

He then puts her picture face down on the desk, with a smile.

And this is where the story starts.

A new man is elected as leader,Henry (hal) Collingridge

Francis Urquhart likes Henry but is secretly contemptuous.

They face the next election, and they win by a narrow majority of around 24 seats, and Urquhart expects to be given a senior position in the Cabinet.

However, Henry decides not to reshuffle at all and Francis Urquhart is stuck as Chief Whip.

Francis is not happy with this.

He, Francis Urquhart, then decides to get his payback with Henry, the new leader and now Prime Minister.

Francis enlists the help of Roger O'Neill, a Tories public relations consultant, but before that he was a former rugby international who has a cocaine habit that has been funded by his Tory expense account.

They start work to undermine Henry Collingridge.

Roger O'Neill gives an opposition MP Stephen Kendrick, information concerning hospital cuts that would make Collingridge look foolish at Prime Minister's Question Time.

He also sets the scene for Urquhart himself to pose as Collingridge's gentle, alcoholic brother Charles so that he can trade in Mendox Chemicals shares, a company about to benefit from the government.
He buys shares from the Mendox company and puts it in Charles Collingridge's name.
Charles denies this but no-one believes him.
He is then sent to a hospital to 'dry out.'

As a result, Collingridge becomes accused of insider dealing,and he is eventually forced to resign.
Roger O'Neill is found dead in a public toilet, supposedly having had a heart attack.

There are many other people he 'sets up' but I won't spoil it for you and tell you the story.

Of course, we know who did all this but Francis Urquhart is keeping very quiet about it.

They then need a new leader and guess who 'pretends' he is not interested in it?

Yes, Francis Urquhart.

However, he is 'convinced' by other members of parliament that he should stand for it, and he does.
He wins.
His deviousness doesn't stop there though, although he now has what he has always wanted, the leadership, he is still not happy.

He wants to be Prime Minister.
And he does.

Francis Urquhart.
He is hard, cold, devious, strong,intelligent,and power crazy. He is in fact quite frightening.
What a mixture, and it works perfectly.

The one thing about him is his facial expressions. He hasn't got any. His face is drained of emotion, cold , hard eyes look at you and then he smiles. His face lights up and his eyes are warm.

He would melt the heart of any woman, and he does.

He spends his life destroying others that may get in his way of becoming Prime Minister, scheming, lying, setting them up.

Even killing.
The one thing about him that really sticks in your mind is the way he talks, he seems so sincere and yet, he will do anything to get what he wants.
I'm sure that if I ever met him I would ask him if politicians really behave like that, I'm sure his reply would be:

"You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment."

He then smiles.

And melts your heart.

1 comment:

pamokc said...

Hi Annette. I just saw where you stopped by my photo blog some time ago. Was browsing your site and ran across this post -- we saw this series years ago ... absolutely one of the best pieces of TV ever!!!! He was brilliant, the whole premise of the story was brilliant and I'd watch it again tonight if I could! I'll add you to my watch list and stop back by again!