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Summary

All six series of Christopher Lee's enthralling parliamentary drama—plus Christmas Special.

Suave, unflappable and ambitious, veteran politician Charles Bannister knows his way around the corridors of power. As chief whip, he's adept at keeping MPs in line and squashing potential scandals—aided by his brother-in-law, MI6 Agent Henry Colvil, who whispers useful titbits of information in his ear. His position seems invincible—but nothing is forever, and when the tides of politics turn, Charles finds himself under threat....

In these six series, we follow his fortunes and those of his close friend Home Secretary Dougal Baxter. Together, the duo rise, fall and rise again, as they fight off plots, counter-plots and conspiracies while struggling to secure their political futures. Promoted to party chairman, Charles finds himself beset by domestic dramas, dogged by rumours of an affair with glamorous Opposition MP Juliet Cameron, and under increasing pressure at Westminster. Will he stick it out and run for the top job—or decide to spend more time with his family? Meanwhile, Dougal makes no secret of his desire to become PM—but will his potentially explosive relationship with his mistress, Kay, put an end to his dreams of advancement?

Written by award-winning author and historian Christopher Lee, this captivating tale of ministerial manoeuvring and machinations was adapted as a best-selling novel and spawned the spin-off mystery series Colvil & Soames. Julian Glover stars as Charles Bannister, with Timothy West as Dougal Baxter and Christopher Benjamin as Henry Colvil.

Production credits:

Written by Christopher Lee. Produced by Pete Atkin and Neil Cargill. 

Cast:

Charles Bannister—Julian Glover

Dougal Baxter—Timothy West/Peter Kelly

Mary Bannister—Sarah Badel/Isla Blair

Henry Colvil—Christopher Benjamin

Denis Wigton—David Ryall/Trevor Peacock

Juliet Cameron—Siobhan Redmond

Rose—Sheila Reid

Arthur—James Garbutt

Polly Bannister—Ruth Gemmell

Gerald Mossman—David Neville

Merffyn Edwards—Ray Smith/Douglas Blackwell

Kay Bennett—Jane Booker

Nick—Julian Dutton

Eamon—Shaun Prendergast

Alex—Caroline Bliss

Sharp—Norman Bird

With Brian Redhead, Laurie Macmillan, Stuart Organ, Graham Blockey, Rupert Baker, Joan Matheson, Ken Cumberlidge, Danny Schiller, John Fortune, Iain Cuthbertson, Dennis Ramsden, Charles Simpson, Christopher Scott, Michael Kilgarriff, Ian Targett, David Goudge, John Bull, David King, Brian Miller, David McAlister, Terence Edmonds, Brett Usher, John Grieve, Richard Caldicot, Bill Wallis, Stephen Greif. 

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 19th August-7th October 1989 (Series 1), 25th December 1989 (Christmas Special), 17th September-5th November 1991 (Series 2), 16th March-20th April 1992 (Series 3), 28th October-2nd December 1992 (Series 4), 17th June-22nd July 1993 (Series 5), 9th June-14th July 1994 (Series 6).

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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TOP NOTCH

Over 19 hours of fun and games with English politics inside Whitehall. Could have listened for another 19 hours. Julian Glover definitely made it for me. A great full cast of fine actors who bring this slanging match beautifully together. A wonderful production. On the negative side; cannot stand the moaning groaning daughter who definitely has issues because each and every time someone says a lovely positive remark such as ‘did you enjoy yourself or hope you have a wonderful time’, she gets angry and always retorts ‘ugh! did you think I would have an awful time or you did didn’t you or why did you think he would give me a bad time ! Oh laborious child like and totally infuriating and unnecessary. Then there is the politician father who treats his wife like she is a walking cooker and dishwasher and cuts her out each and Every Time his wife speaks an intelligent conversation by saying ‘sorry darling must rush or sorry darling can’t make the booked dinner in half an hour as I am in an important meeting. Yet when she gets high-book deals and film offers for her intelligent work, she is being silly! oh so stereo-typical. But otherwise I really like this.

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  • Insead
  • 09-07-22

Lite fare

Hi Ms. Santa call Phil and sons by Christopher Lee so I bought and listen Ed to The House which proceeded those stories. iI was unsatisfying a bit of a soap opera that was too clever but went nowhere. It did however foreshadow what’s happening with Boris Johnson now so the personalities and political BS are timeless.