TV preview: The Vote, More4
James Graham's political drama starring Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss and Catherine Tate screens live on Election night
In what will arguably be the most unpredictable and exciting general election for a generation, it’s only right that TV chiefs should up the ante for their coverage on the night. But few will be as daring as More4 who will be broadcasting live from the Donmar Warehouse as James Graham’s The Vote dramatises the final 90 minutes before the ballot boxes are taken away to be counted in a fictional London polling station.
An excellent cast has been gathered for this production including Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss, Bill Paterson, Nina Sosanya, Catherine Tate and Timothy West. Artistic director at the theatre since 2012, Josie Rourke feels the weight of history bearing down. ‘This is a unique opportunity for the Donmar to make a small theatre feel very big. Some of the nation’s greatest actors are coming together this election night to give theatre a seat at the table of a national event. Everyone involved is approaching this experiment with a sense of adventure. To work with a playwright and company of this calibre and significance on such a bold project is a dream come true.’
Ahead of the big day, the play will have a two-week run to get into its stride and, in logistical terms alone, it might well need it. Around 50 actors will play voters and polling station staff with the real-time production exploring the somewhat old-fashioned act of voting in the UK. And whatever the result on the night, Rourke has reason to view The Vote as a win-win. ‘This is the first time Judi Dench has been back on the Donmar stage since 1976. To have her at the heart of this incredible company of actors makes this great event a total joy.’
The Vote screens on More4, Thu May 7, 8.30pm.