Cultural depictions of Margaret Thatcher
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Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Her portrayal in the arts and popular culture has been mixed. In the words of one critic she attracted "musical opprobrium like no other British political leader". Such opinion is divergent from mainstream opinion polling which tends to place her as the most popular British prime minister since Winston Churchill.
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.
- When Harvey Met Bob (2010) – Ingrid Craigie
- The Queen (2009) – Lesley Manville
- Margaret (2009) – Lindsay Duncan
- The Long Walk to Finchley (2008) – Andrea Riseborough
- Coup! (2006) – Caroline Blakiston
- The Line of Beauty (2006) – Kika Markham
- Pinochet in Suburbia (2006) – Anna Massey
- The Alan Clark Diaries (2004) – Louise Gold
- The Falklands Play (2002) – Patricia Hodge
- Deutschlandspiel (2000) (TV) – Nicole Heesters
- The Final Cut (1995) – funeral and memorial statue depicted
- Thatcher: The Final Days (1991) – Sylvia Syms
- House of Cards (1990) – began after Thatcher's resignation, following the premiership of her fictional successor Hal Collingridge and his succession by Francis Urquhart.
- About Face (1989) – Maureen Lipman
- First Among Equals (Hilary Turner) (1986) – Paola Dionisotti
- 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.
- 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"
- Neocolonialism (2013) – Thatcher is quoted in the main menu, and sometimes appears as a computer player
- The Hunt for Tony Blair (2011) – Jennifer Saunders
- Jeffrey Archer: The Truth (2002) – Greta Scacchi
- The Comic Strip Presents... (1990, 1992) – Jennifer Saunders
- Dunrulin (1990) – Angela Thorne
- KYTV (1989) – Steve Nallon
- Doctor Who: "The Happiness Patrol" (1988) – character of Helen A is a caricature of Thatcher
- The New Statesman (1987–90) – Steve Nallon
- Spitting Image (1984–96) – voiced by Steve Nallon; caricatured as a "fascist hermaphrodite: wearing power suits, using urinals and smoking cigars"
- Yes Minister (1984) – herself (a short sketch, on 20 January 1984, at an award ceremony for the writers, commemorated on a Private Eye cover)
- Are You Being Served? (1983) - In the episode "Monkey Business," a scene is set inside Number 10 with Thatcher appearing offscreen (only her hand is seen and her voice heard, portrayed by actress Jan Ravens) interacting with John Inman's character Mr Humphries
- Anyone for Denis? (1982) – Angela Thorne
- The Iron Lady (1979) – Janet Brown (satirical album written by John Wells of Private Eye)
- Saturday Night Live (1979, 1982, 1988, 2013) – Michael Palin; Mary Gross; John Lithgow; Fred Armisen, Taran Killam, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, as Ian Rubbish and the Bizzaros
- The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
- Alan Clark Diaries: Volume 2: Into Politics 1972–1982 by Alan Clark (2000)
- Icon by Frederick Forsyth (1997)
- A Heart So White by Javier Marías (1995) – The hero of the novel is an interpreter at a long conversation between Thatcher and a Spanish politician. Thatcher refers to the play Macbeth, from which the novel's title derives.
- The Fist of God by Frederick Forsyth (1994)
- Alan Clark Diaries: Volume 1: In Power 1983–1992 by Alan Clark (1993)
- A Little Bit of Sunshine by Frederick Forsyth (1991)
- The Negotiator by Frederick Forsyth (1989)
- The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth (1984)
- First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer (1984)
- The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth (1979), in which the character of British Prime Minister Joan Carpenter is based on Thatcher
- Miracleman: Olympus by Alan Moore and John Totleben (1989) – Thatcher appears as Prime Minister intimidated by the Miracleman Family to comply with their fascist government
- The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6, 1983 (2014) – a short story by Hilary Mantel
While in power, Thatcher was the subject of several songs which opposed her government, including The Beat's "Stand Down Margaret", 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, 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").
Songs with Thatcher as the subject include:
- "All My Trials" by Paul McCartney
- "Margaret on the Guillotine" (song from Morrissey's album Viva Hate)
- "Stand Down Margaret" by The Beat
- "The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies" by Pete Wylie
- "The Day That Thatcher Dies" by Hefner
- "Tramp the Dirt Down" by Elvis Costello
- "I'm There!" by Janet Brown
- "Wallflowers" by MC Frontalot
- "Margaret" by Russian band Electroforez
- "Ronnie And Mags" by NOFX
- "Miss Maggie" by Renaud
- "Madame Medusa" by UB40
- "Maggie" by The Exploited
- "The Grocer" by Ewan MacColl
- "I'm in love with Margaret Thatcher" by Notsensibles (one of the more sympathetic depictions of Thatcher in popular music)
- "Maggie's Farm" by The Blues Band
- "Thatcher's Fortress" by The Varukers
- "Maggie Maggie Maggie (Out Out Out)" by The Larks
- "Margaret's Injection" by Kitchens of Distinction
- "Thatcher Fucked the Kids" by Frank Turner
- "Black Boys on Mopeds" by Sinéad O’Connor
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. 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." 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.
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.
Less than two months after Thatcher resigned, musical acid house group V.I.M. released a rave track titled "Maggie's Last Party". 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"; it reached #68 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1991. The track was a hit with many nightclubs at the time, despite unfavourable opinion of her government among some in the rave community.
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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Margaret Thatcher in art.|
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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".
- "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead", a 1939 song that infamously charted in the week of her death
- "Maggie's Militant Tendency", a controversial programme broadcast by the BBC
- Thatchergate, a hoax perpetrated by members of the anarcho-punk band Crass
- Thatcher effect, an optical illusion first demonstrated on a photograph of Thatcher
- 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.
- Sweeney, Ken (9 April 2013). "Everyone cheered when she quit". Evening Herald. Dublin.
- Music Blog (8 April 2013). "Five songs about Margaret Thatcher". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016.
- "YouGov / Sunday Times Survey Results" (PDF). YouGov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-05-31.
- 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.
- Ticketsolve – Leicester Square Theatre
- "Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – The Happiness Guide – Details". BBC News. Archived from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- 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.
- on YouTube
- 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.
- 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.
- Eggers, Dave (2004) "And Now, a Less Informed Opinion", Spin, October 2004, p. 66-8
- 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.
- "Paul's Song Rips Thatcher", Chicago Sun-Times, 27 November 1990, p. 20
- Goddard, Simon (2009) Mozipedia, Ebury Press, ISBN 978-0091927097, p. 249
- 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.
- 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.
- "Pink Floyd – The Fletcher Memorial Home". SongMeanings. Missing or empty
- "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.
- Library of Congress LCCN: The final cut. Pink Floyd. LC control no. 93711744. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. QC38243 Columbia. Rock music—1981–1990..
- "Speech to the Scottish Conservative Party Conference". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- 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..
- Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – The Young Offender's Mum (CD) at Discogs Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
- Heard, Chris (4 May 2004). "Rocking against Thatcher". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 March 2009.
- "V.I.M.- Maggie's Last Party (Radio Mix)". SoundCloud. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- 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.
- "V.I.M. | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- "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.
- Holden, Michael (9 April 2013). "Thatcher's War on Acid House". Vice. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
- "The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher" at Discogs
- "Thatcher statue decapitated". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05.
- ""Iron Lady" unveils her bronze statue". Reuters. 21 February 2007. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "A Contemporary Portrait Of Margaret Thatcher By Marcus Harvey". Artlyst. Archived from the original on 2016-10-13.
- Freeman, Hadley (16 April 2003). "I wanted to invade her privacy". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016.
- Kinghorn, Kristie (14 March 2015). "Gerald Scarfe's controversial Margaret Thatcher cartoons on show". BBC News. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016.
- "Maggie's Club". Archived from the original on 24 June 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- 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.
- Chadwick, Jonny (31 January 2014). "I Went To Maggie's Club, London's Thatcher-Worship Club Night". Vice. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- Cavendish, Dominic (10 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher: Time stage and screen took the Iron Lady seriously". The Daily Telegraph.
- Gompertz, Will (9 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher: An inspiration to artists?". BBC News.
- Empire, Kitty; Rawnsley, Andrew; French, Philip; Ferguson, Euan; McCrum, Robert (13 April 2013). "How Margaret Thatcher left her mark on British culture". The Guardian.