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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Margaret – introduction

Lindsay Duncan as Margaret

Produced for BBC Two by Great Meadow Productions, Margaret is a compelling drama about power and betrayal written by Richard Cottan (Wallander, Hancock & Joan).

The extraordinary cast for this powerful production is headed by multi-BAFTA nominated actress Lindsay Duncan (Rome) as the Iron Lady.

She is joined by a host of outstanding veteran actors including Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars) as Margaret's loyal husband Denis, James Fox (A Passage To India) as foreign policy adviser Charles Powell, Robert Hardy (All Creatures Great And Small) as Willie Whitelaw, Philip Jackson (Poirot) as chief press secretary Bernard Ingham, Kevin McNally (Pirates Of The Caribbean) as Kenneth Clarke and Oliver Cotton (The Commander) as Michael Heseltine.

The film is an intimate portrayal of a woman on the brink of ruin; a very human story about the private Margaret behind the public persona as she loses her grip on the power she has strived so hard to achieve.

Great Meadow Productions' co-founder Robert Cooper explains: "Richard Cottan's dark and powerful drama intimately explores the strengths and tragic flaws of Margaret Thatcher's character that led to her closest political allies turning on her, precipitating her final, humiliating downfall. Most of all, it shows us a Margaret Thatcher – the woman who changed our lives more than any other in British history – that has never been seen before on screen."

Margaret focuses on the last days of a political tenure that has had a lasting impact on Britain.

The film shows Margaret Thatcher desperately clinging to power whilst being politically assassinated by those around her.

It includes flashbacks to her early years in power revealing her inherent drive to succeed – a quality which ultimately led to her demise.

Fellow MD of Great Meadow Productions, Kate Triggs, says: "Margaret is an authored film which provides a unique insight into a woman that so few really know. Richard's script has shades of Macbeth in its tragedy – in spite of all of her failings the urge to empathise with Margaret at the point of her ultimate downfall is a truly unexpected and emotional experience.

"It is also testament to the quality of Richard's script that we have been able to assemble the best cast we could have hoped for; a cast that fits the piece perfectly."

The stellar cast also includes John Sessions (The Good Shepherd) as Geoffrey Howe, whose resignation sparked Margaret's downfall, Michael Cochrane (Doctors) as Alan Clark, Michael Maloney (Notes On A Scandal) as John Major, Roy Marsden (The Palace) as Norman Tebbit, Nigel Le Vaillant (Casualty) as Ted Heath, Nicholas Le Prevost (Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story) as Douglas Hurd and Rosemary Leach (My Family) as the Queen.

Bethan Jones, Executive Producer, BBC Wales, says: "BBC Wales are delighted to be working again with Great Meadow Productions who have brought together an extraordinary team to explore another strand of Margaret Thatcher's epic journey."

Margaret is written by Richard Cottan and directed by James Kent (The Genius Of Mozart, Elizabeth David: A Life In Recipes).

John Campbell, author of Margaret Thatcher: Volume One: The Grocer's Daughter and Margaret Thatcher: Volume Two: The Iron Lady, is a consultant on the film.

Margaret is part-funded by BBC Worldwide and the executive producers are Robert Cooper and Kate Triggs for Great Meadow Productions and Bethan Jones for BBC Wales.

Margaret was commissioned by Jane Tranter, former Controller, BBC Fiction.


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