What to do now, I agonised? Despairing of the bare walls of my garret providing any inspiration, I stalked into the Glaswegian streets, at last, after much travailing, resting my tired feet in a hostelry in that city’s western district. And then, as my Deuchars ebbed to a half-draught, the divine Muse Calliope slapped my phizog with her laurel leaf of inspiration.
We’re dominated by American political films, the hero-priest of presidency cults, and homicidal alien forces whose primary mission seems to be flattening the White House. Of course, the British got there first, giving
But my primary point concerned political dramas. Obviously, dominating the firmament is the West Wing. For myself, a continuing favourite is the House of Cards trilogy. As an aficionado of the wondrous malice of Jacobean tragedy, Andrew Davies managed to massage the themes and the atmosphere into a more modern setting tremendously well. How some keen-sighted producer found in Michael Dobbs’ novel the germ of the television programme, I have no idea. I’ve rarely encountered prose more lumpen – and female characters more obviously and ludicrously scripted from a sweaty-palmed, sausage-fingered male perspective. Nor can Dobbs be credited with Francis Urqhart’s much quoted saw, or the splendidly creepy henchman that is Colin Jeavons’ Tim Stamper, another brace of owings to the estimable Davies. For those who have not yet encountered it, I urgently encourage you to seek it out.
At the time, though I’ve not revisited it, I enjoyed the Deal (2003). Partly, this comes from the simple novelty of seeing a system and a culture with which you are relatively familiar dramatised. I’m sure other Scots experience a similar frisson at the limited number of popular dramatisations in a Scottish setting, Ian Rankin's Rebus, Taggart et al. In last night’s episode of the former, I noticed that one of the characters was an MSP – I presume a Tory – and along with the nudgings of the Muse, it got me to wondering – what might a fictionalised Scottish parliamentary drama be like? Would it work, could it? I’ve read Boiling a Frog by Christopher Brookmyre, which trades in the imaginative space of a devolved
Shambling Gurn: the George Foulkes Story (2012) is uplifting tale of a talentless soak who accidentally shuffles, like a confused extra, into the eye of the camera… From the voice of one crying for devolution from the
wilderness to a triumphal entry to his parliament in 2007, Foulkes’ story is Westminster ’s story, his face the leathery map of his land, thirsty for freedom. The lines slowly folding his august, statsman’s brow telling of his people’s travails and torments on their cobbled path to devolution... Scotland
My bladder is already pinching with excitement and anticipation! Moreover, watching Rebus yesterday, I think we have a strong presumptive candidate to play Georgie, in fellow Lothians look-alike, Ken Stott...