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Cultural depictions of Margaret Thatcher

The Spitting Image Thatcher puppet on display in Grantham Museum

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Her portrayal in the arts and popular culture has been mixed.[1] In the words of one critic she attracted "musical opprobrium like no other British political leader".[2][3] Such opinion is divergent from mainstream opinion polling which tends to place her as the most popular British prime minister since Winston Churchill.[4][1]

Arts critic Michael Billington noted that "Thatcher may not have cared passionately about the arts, but she left her emphatic mark upon them."[5]

This page is a list of depictions of Thatcher on stage, in film, TV, radio, literature, music and in other forms of the arts and entertainment.


Television dramaEdit


  • Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho (2013–present) – A drag comedy musical play imagining what life would have been like if Thatcher had got lost in Soho on the eve of the vote for Section 28. It was performed in December 2013 at Theatre503 in London, in August 2014 at the Edinburgh Fringe and is transferring to London once again in March 2015 at the Leicester Square Theatre.[6]
  • The Audience (2013) – played in the premiere production by Haydn Gwynne
  • Handbagged (2010) – A play shown at the Tricycle Theatre in London as part of its Women, Power and Politics festival. Handbagged examined the relationship between Thatcher and the Queen. The younger Thatcher was portrayed by Claire Cox and the elder by Stella Gonet. Handbagged was later expanded by its writer Moira Buffini and presented as a full play at the Tricycle in late 2013. The director was Indhu Rubasingham.
  • The Death of Margaret Thatcher (2008) – coffin is onstage throughout the play, dealing with the differing reactions of the cast towards her death
  • Market Boy (2006) – Set in a marketplace in 1980s Romford, a character called "Posh Lady" is meant to resemble Thatcher. When the play debuted at the National Theatre in London, she was played by Nicola Blackwell.
  • Thatcher – The Musical! (c. 2006)
  • Billy Elliot the Musical (2005) – contains the irreverent song "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher" by Elton John
  • Little Madam – a play by James Graham, exploring the life and career of Thatcher, presented at Finborough Theatre, London
  • Sink the Belgrano! (1986) – a vitriolic satirical play by Steven Berkoff, in which she is called "Maggot Scratcher"





While in power, Thatcher was the subject of several songs which opposed her government, including The Beat's "Stand Down Margaret",[12] as well as a sarcastic declaration of faux adoration (Notsensibles' "I'm in Love with Margaret Thatcher"). Even after she left government, several offensive songs had been written that spitefully called for her death or looked forward to celebration of her death,[1] including Morrissey's "Margaret on the Guillotine" ("The kind people have a wonderful dream, Margaret on the guillotine"), Elvis Costello's "Tramp the Dirt Down" ("I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down"), Hefner's "The Day That Thatcher Dies" ("We will dance and sing all night") and Pete Wylie's "The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies" ("She's gone!, And nobody cries").[13]

Songs with Thatcher as the subject include:

Roger Waters in 1983 referred to Thatcher sarcastically as "Maggie" multiple times throughout the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut. In the song The Fletcher Memorial Home Waters calls "Maggie" an overgrown infant and an incurable tyrant. At the end of the song he quietly speaks of applying the Final Solution to her and other famous world leaders.[18][19][20] A sound recording of Thatcher's voice also appears on Waters' 1987 solo album Radio K.A.O.S. toward the end of the track "Four Minutes", when a portion of her speech to the 1983 Scottish Conservative Party Conference can be heard: "...our own independent nuclear deterrent, which has helped to keep the peace for nearly 40 years."[21] The band Genesis in 1986 utilised a puppet representing her (as well as other politicians) in the music video Land of Confusion from the album Invisible Touch.[22]

British indie band Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine depicted Thatcher on the sleeve of their 1995 single "The Young Offender's Mum".[23]

Protest songsEdit

During her political career, Margaret Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for several protest songs. Paul Weller was a founding member of Red Wedge collective, which unsuccessfully sought to oust Thatcher with the help of music. In 1987, they organised a comedy tour with British comedians Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane, Harry Enfield and others.[24]


Less than two months after Thatcher resigned, musical acid house group V.I.M. released a rave track titled "Maggie's Last Party".[25] Described by a music critic in 2011 as "strikingly original, and catchy to the point of irritation", the track was a "fusion" of Thatcher's "uncompromising speeches with a slowly-evolving post-acid house backing";[26] it reached #68 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1991.[27] The track was a hit with many nightclubs at the time,[28] despite unfavourable opinion of her government among some in the rave community.[29]

Silent discEdit

In 1983, a vinyl record was pressed entitled "The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher", however the whole grove on both sides are totally silent.[30]


The rebuilt Thatcher statue at Guildhall Art Gallery

Notable works include:

  • Statue of Margaret Thatcher (1998) – a marble statue installed at Guildhall Art Gallery. The two-ton statue was decapitated in 2002 by a protester.[31]
  • Statue of Margaret Thatcher (2007) – a bronze statue. The statue has been erected inside the House of Commons. It shows her with her arm outstretched and posed as if addressing the House.[32]
  • Maggie (2009) by Marcus Harvey – a black-and-white portrait composed of over 15,000 casts of sculptural objects including vegetables, dildos, masks and skulls. The work weighs over a ton.[33]
  • In the Sleep of Reason by Mark Wallinger – a video piece taken from Thatcher's 1982 Falklands speech and edited to show only each blink, thus giving the appearance that her eyes are constantly shut.[34]

Thatcher was seen as a "gift" by political cartoonists. Among the most memorable images are Gerald Scarfe's provocative "scythe-like" caricatures, some of which were exhibited in his 2005 show "Milk Snatcher, Gerald Scarfe – The Thatcher Drawings".[35]

Maggie's ClubEdit

On Fulham Road in Chelsea, London, there is a 1980s-themed late-night bar dedicated to Thatcher called Maggie's Club.[36][37][38]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Everett-Green, Robert (8 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher in pop culture: A Scrooge with all the power and no midnight conversion". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 13 April 2017.
  2. ^ Sweeney, Ken (9 April 2013). "Everyone cheered when she quit". Evening Herald. Dublin.
  3. ^ Music Blog (8 April 2013). "Five songs about Margaret Thatcher". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016.
  4. ^ "YouGov / Sunday Times Survey Results" (PDF). YouGov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-05-31.
  5. ^ Billington, Michael (8 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher casts a long shadow over theatre and the arts". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017.
  6. ^ Ticketsolve – Leicester Square Theatre
  7. ^ "Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – The Happiness Guide – Details". BBC News. Archived from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  8. ^ Derek B. Scott (2016). The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-317-04197-9. Archived from the original on 2017-02-24.
  9. ^ History of Punk – Saturday Night Live on YouTube
  10. ^ Mantel, Hilary (19 September 2014). "Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  11. ^ Reynolds, Gillian (30 November 2009). "A Family Affair (Radio 4): a Lovable, impossible and ingenious portrait of Mrs T – review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010.
  12. ^ a b c Eggers, Dave (2004) "And Now, a Less Informed Opinion", Spin, October 2004, p. 66-8
  13. ^ a b c Shennan, Paddy (24 September 2008). "Why the hatchets are out for an old enemy". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Paul's Song Rips Thatcher", Chicago Sun-Times, 27 November 1990, p. 20
  15. ^ Goddard, Simon (2009) Mozipedia, Ebury Press, ISBN 978-0091927097, p. 249
  16. ^ Gundersen, Edna (16 April 2013). "I'm There song reissue mocks Margaret Thatcher on day of funeral". USA Today. Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  17. ^ Lewis, Randy (16 April 2013). "Album skewering Margaret Thatcher to be reissued on April 17". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  18. ^ "Pink Floyd – The Fletcher Memorial Home". SongMeanings. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  19. ^ "Canzoni contro la guerra – The Fletcher Memorial Home". Antiwar Songs (AWS) (in Italian). Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  20. ^ Library of Congress LCCN: The final cut. Pink Floyd. LC control no. 93711744. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. QC38243 Columbia. Rock music—1981–1990.[1].
  21. ^ "Speech to the Scottish Conservative Party Conference". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  22. ^ Library of Congress LCCN: Invisible touch. Genesis. LC control no. 91758551. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. 81641-1-E Atlantic/7 81641-1-E Atlantic. Rock music—1981–1990.[2].
  23. ^ Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – The Young Offender's Mum (CD) at Discogs Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Heard, Chris (4 May 2004). "Rocking against Thatcher". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 March 2009.
  25. ^ "V.I.M.- Maggie's Last Party (Radio Mix)". SoundCloud. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  26. ^ Chapple, Jon (13 January 2011). "V.I.M. – Maggie's Last Party (1991)". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  27. ^ "V.I.M. | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  28. ^ "V.I.M. - Maggie's Last Party as reviewed by baj". Discogs. 2 November 2005. Retrieved 13 January 2019. If you spent any time in a goth/industrial club or went to raves in the early 90's [sic], you know this one.
  29. ^ Holden, Michael (9 April 2013). "Thatcher's War on Acid House". Vice. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  30. ^ "The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher" at Discogs
  31. ^ "Thatcher statue decapitated". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05.
  32. ^ ""Iron Lady" unveils her bronze statue". Reuters. 21 February 2007. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  33. ^ "A Contemporary Portrait Of Margaret Thatcher By Marcus Harvey". Artlyst. Archived from the original on 2016-10-13.
  34. ^ Freeman, Hadley (16 April 2003). "I wanted to invade her privacy". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016.
  35. ^ Kinghorn, Kristie (14 March 2015). "Gerald Scarfe's controversial Margaret Thatcher cartoons on show". BBC News. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016.
  36. ^ "Maggie's Club". Archived from the original on 24 June 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  37. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (22 November 2010). "Maggie's nightclub – the ultimate tribute to Thatcher". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 October 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  38. ^ Chadwick, Jonny (31 January 2014). "I Went To Maggie's Club, London's Thatcher-Worship Club Night". Vice. Retrieved 27 May 2017.

External linksEdit