Socialist Worker

An outlaw hero and a prime minister

by Rob Hoveman
Issue No. 1870

THIS CRACKING film about the power struggle between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was dropped by ITV as 'too sensitive'. Luckily Channel 4 are screening it on the eve of Labour's conference. Like the recent The Project, it combines memorable newsreel footage with drama. The actors playing Blair and Brown are scarily true to life, although the Peter Mandelson character never gets close to explaining the man's power. The film shows how the drive to 'modernise' Labour was born out of frustration with years of defeat by the Tories.

It shows how ruthless and calculating Blair and Brown are. There were no real political differences between the two, just differences of background and culture, although Blair was always hated as a Tory interloper. The film ends with Blair becoming leader in 1994. But film-maker Stephen Frears says he wanted to draw contemporary parallels.

The Deal has a narrow, almost claustrophobic, focus on the Westminster village. It says Blair's time is up, but hints that Brown may be better. The real drama continues.

Sunday 28 September, 9pm, Channel 4

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Sat 27 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1870
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