Death of a President

More4, Mon 9 Oct, 9pm; Channel 4, Thu 19 Oct, 9pm


Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea. Possibly being added to the candidates listed as America’s public enemy number one is the United Kingdom, when this goes out on air. The international incident sparked by ITV’s 1980s Saudi drama Death of a Princess will be a drop of petroleum compared to the stink that the US might unleash due to this fake documentary. How could those who have stood shoulder to shoulder with Bush allow a film which imagines the assassination of George W in Chicago sometime during 2007?

There are interviews with Bush’s speechmaker and bodyguard, the FBI and those close to the accused. It’s certainly a tense, compelling and oddly moving piece from the makers of The Day Britain Stopped but the point seems lost. Where their previous film clearly showed the dire consequences from having over-stretched air traffic control, the justification for this ‘what if’ drama is less obvious. The CGI effects sizzle as the actors are placed Zelig-like around Bush and they are cranked up to another level when he is gunned down but the denouement weakly hints that arresting someone with a Muslim-sounding name when anything anti-American happens might not always be the best idea.

‘We are not going to comment, because it does not dignify a response’ has been the White House statement so far. But if anyone there happens to rent the DVD with their Friday night pizza they’ll soon realise that there’s less to get annoyed about than they’d think.

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