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Episode #1.2 

Francis Urqhart continues his surreptitious campaign to force Prime Minister Henry Collingridge's resignation. After the tabloids spend the summer excoriating the PM's brother Charles, it's... See full summary »


Paul Seed


Michael Dobbs (novel), Andrew Davies (screenplay)


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Richardson ... Francis Urquhart
Susannah Harker ... Mattie Storin
Miles Anderson ... Roger O'Neill
David Lyon David Lyon ... Prime Minister Henry Collingridge
Malcolm Tierney ... Patrick Woolton
Nicholas Selby ... Lord Billsborough
Alphonsia Emmanuel Alphonsia Emmanuel ... Penny Guy
James Villiers ... Charles Collingridge
Kenny Ireland ... Ben Landless
Diane Fletcher Diane Fletcher ... Elizabeth Urquhart
Isabelle Amyes Isabelle Amyes ... Anne Collingridge
William Chubb William Chubb ... John Krajewski
John Hartley John Hartley ... Greville Preston
Kenneth Gilbert Kenneth Gilbert ... Harold Earle
Christopher Owen Christopher Owen ... McKenzie


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Francis Urqhart continues his surreptitious campaign to force Prime Minister Henry Collingridge's resignation. After the tabloids spend the summer excoriating the PM's brother Charles, it's time for the fall party conference in Brighton. There, Urqhart ensures that journalist Mattie Storin gets the results of an internal party poll showing they have fallen 30 points behind Labour. He also ensures those numbers make it to print. When the PM asks Urqhart's advice on who is out to get him, he lays the blame at the feet of Party chairman Lord Billsborough. Urqhart also approaches Foreign Minister Patrick Woolton with the suggestion that he run for the leadership while simultaneously plotting his downfall. When the financial scandal concerning the PM's brother Charles finally hits the press, Collingridge's tenure comes to an end. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


When Francis Urquhart says "good things of day begin to droop and drowse", he is quoting Shakespeare's Macbeth (Act 3, Scene 2). Urquhart and his wife are being compared to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, as a treacherous, Machiavellian couple prepared to stop at nothing to get what they want. See more »


Francis Urquhart: A party conference can be many things: a show of confidence, an agonising reappraisal, or, as in this cases, a series of auditions by pretenders to the throne while the lost leader withers before our very eyes.
See more »


References Carry on Nurse (1959) See more »

User Reviews

Episode 2
26 November 2018 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Andrew Davies has added layers of cynical black humour in his adaptation.

In the second episode everything goes swimmingly well for Francis Urquhart as he destabilises Prime Minister Henry Collingridge. Henry and his brother are rocked by an insider dealing scandal which is all Urquhart's doing.

Collingridge's anchor the party chairman Lord Billsborough is dropped as the party falls 30 points behind the opposition. Mattie is happy to get snippets of information from Urquhart and she becomes his main cheerleader.

However Urquhart needs to get rid of his rivals as well. Top of the list is racist, anti semite and bullying Foreign Minister Patrick Woolton. No push over and rather clever as Urquhart tells the audience. He suggests to Woolton that he should run for the leadership while Urquhart plans to finish him with a sex scandal.

It is easy to say that television drama was all too slow 30 years ago, but the pace does not let up here. It is still thrilling to see the cabinet ministers talking to the conference audience and Urquhart pulls their speeches apart.

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Release Date:

25 November 1990 (UK) See more »

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