Party Animals – power, politics and sexual intrigue collide in new drama series – starts Wednesday 31 January 2007 at 9pm on BBC Two
Like most twenty-somethings, Scott, Danny, Ashika and Kirsty spend much of their day worrying about love, sex, friendship and paying the rent. Unlike most twenty-somethings, the rest of the time they're worrying about running the country.
Drawing on a wealth of first-hand research, BBC Two drama Party Animals takes a look at Westminster from the ground up – the young researchers and advisors shouldering huge responsibility in a frantic, high-stakes world. It's no wonder their personal lives are so messy...
Sons of a former Labour MP, Scott and Danny Foster have politics in their blood.
Danny is the devoted researcher of Home Office Junior Minister Jo Porter. But times are tough. The Government is in crisis, Jo's struggling with a difficult home life and Danny is caught in the crossfire. Add to this the distracting presence of scheming intern Kirsty MacKenzie, and Danny is about to make an almighty blunder.
Scott fled Labour HQ with a bulging contacts book for a lucrative career in lobbying. But with New Labour in decline, his schmoozing and contacts are looking a little dated. His boss, Stephen Templeton, challenges Scott to secure new friends in the rising Tory Party. A chance lunch with Ashika Chandrimani, chief advisor to Shadow Tory Minister James Northcote, presents an opportunity that Scott is eager to pursue.
Ashika herself is at a crossroads. Her boss, James Northcote, may be tipped as future Cabinet material, but she's tired of living in his shadow and the rumours surrounding their relationship. So, when she is approached to fight a key by-election, Ashika has to choose between future power with James and the chance to strike out on her own.
Danny's blunder and a scurrilous rumour set in motion a chain of events that changes Scott, Ashika and Danny's lives for ever.
Producer Eleanor Greene comments: "Party Animals is a funny, intelligent and explosive drama, following a group of young people growing up in one of the most cut-throat industries.
"Talking to insiders, it soon became clear that the political world was as much about cliques, social alliances and sexual intrigue as it was about running the country and policy-making – in fact, the two are intrinsically linked."
Party Animals' main consultant, Martin Bright (Political Editor, The New Statesman), helped the production team get to the heart of the matter, adds Greene.
"Martin was able to help with all aspects of the show – from putting us in touch with journalists, lobbyists, MPs and researchers, through guiding us on political stories, hot topics and future policy, to advising us on the right design for the offices."
Simon Heath, Executive Producer, World Productions, reveals that even though big political themes are tackled throughout the series, the starting-point was altogether different.
"We began with a handful of characters: the young backroom staff of British politics. Through their eyes, we tried to capture the buzz of being so close to power, to create a show that didn't take itself too seriously, but could tackle significant subjects in a witty way," he says.
"In the end, you don't need an interest in politics to enjoy the series. It's a workplace like many others, but with its own special brand of office gossip and competition."
Polly Hill, Executive Producer, BBC, says: "Party Animals shows the new face of British politics, following the political power-brokers of tomorrow as they work hard and play even harder. We have secured an amazingly versatile cast, bursting with immense experience and exciting new talent in equal measure."
Writer and co-creator Ben Richards adds: "These are young people who believe they can try and make a difference. In spite of the fact that they're ambitious, they have beliefs and are interested in ideas."
As for the two main MPs in the series, he says: "We're interested in showing the trends within the parties rather than thinly-concealed disguises of people. As such, the two politicians – Jo Porter and James Northcote – are not particularly based on any individual but on political types."
The cast includes: Patrick Baladi (Bodies, The Office) as James Northcote; Raquel Cassidy (Lead Balloon) as Jo Porter; Matt Smith (Ruby In The Smoke) as Danny Foster; Andrew Buchan as Scott Foster; Andrea Riseborough as Kirsty MacKenzie; Colin Salmon as Stephen Templeton; and Shelley Conn as Ashika Chandiramani.
Party Animals is written by Ben Richards (Spooks, No Angels), Robert Jones (The Cops, Ahead Of The Class) and Fintan Ryan (Bad Crowd), and is directed by Brian Grant (As If, Clocking Off, Sinchronicity), Niall MacCormick (Transit, Jeremy Vine Meets, Meeting Mandela) and Julian Holmes (Spooks, New Street Law, No Angels).
It is a World Productions (This Life, No Angels) production for BBC Two.