Tony Blair Season

Channel 4, various dates



One of the most striking cultural factors of the Blair years has been the relatively easy ride he got from the satirists. When you compare the last ten years to the Thatcher period, the comedy clubs, print media and TV shows have hardly been rattling with the sound of political parody. Pre-Iraq, only Rory Bremner and Steve Bell made any real impression on this consciousness, with the entertainment majority preferring to give him the benefit of their doubt. The closest we ever got to a Spitting Image was the irregularly screened work of Alison Jackson, where her foggy doppelgangers got up to many silly shenanigans. Her contribution to Channel 4’s long goodbye to this decade of disillusion is Blaired Vision (Tue 26 Jun, 11.05pm) in which we revisit the heady early days of Cool Britannia catapulting us through time to cast a skewed eye on his relationships with Brown, Blunkett and Cherie.

Veering more towards the serious will be Andrew Rawnsley with The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair (Sat 23 Jun, 7pm; Mon 25 Jun, 8pm), a two-parter which attempts a definitive document of the era featuring interviews with senior Cabinet members, civil servants and opponents of the outgoing PM. How did the vast Parliamentary swing of ‘97 culminate in a nationwide shrug of the shoulders as we await him locking the door of Number 10 for the last time? And in Tony Blair: My Part in His Downfall (Mon 25 Jun, 11.05pm), the lad Bremner steps back into his own archive to prove that mimicry is not always the sincerest form of flattery.

(Brian Donaldson)


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