To Play the King

Prime Minister Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) is haunted by the crimes of his past – and challenged by the new King (Michael Kitchen) who disapproves of his social policies. This sequel to House of Cards (1990) is almost as good; an intelligent, icy portrayal of power at its deadliest. Ironically, that darkness is counterbalanced by a monarchy that shows more concern for the common people than the politicians who elected them. Watching the showdowns between Buckingham Palace and Number 10 is very enjoyable (and offers food for thought). Once again, a brilliant performance by Richardson; Kitchen does a clever impersonation of Prince Charles.

1993-Britain. Made for TV. 200 min. Color. Produced by Ken Riddington. Directed by Paul Seed. Teleplay: Andrew Davies. Novel: Michael Dobbs. Cast: Ian Richardson (Francis Urquhart), Michael Kitchen (The King), Kitty Aldridge (Sarah Harding), Colin Jeavons, Diane Fletcher, Nicholas Farrell.

Trivia: Originally shown in four episodes. Future Spice Girl Emma Bunton plays a prostitute in one scene. Followed by The Final Cut (1995).

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