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A Very British Coup
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10 from 577 votes
Release: 19 June 1988 (UK) /

A Very British Coup

Genre: Drama
Director:
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Harry Perkins, steel worker and trade unionist from Sheffield, becomes Prime Minister of the UK by a landslide, partly because of corruption and public disillusionment with the Conservative Party and financial institutions of the City of London. The IMF, the military and their secret service "comrades" start to plot against of the elected PM. They are unhappy with the non-nuclear and neutral aspirations of his party (during the Cold War) and are supported in their fears by nationalistic media moguls. Quietly, the protagonist Harry is driven by an underlying desire to compensate for the corporate manslaughter of his granddad, "who were killed at work" when he was "splashed by molten steel". Harry inherited his shaving mug, nothing more, and was originally determined to see workers participate in decision making for safety on the job. As his national-political consciousness grew he formed a wider agenda for a reinvestment in health and education as well as public ownership of public ... Written by [email protected]

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Critic Reviews


A British Channel 4 mini-series, and one of the finest political thrillers ever made. From the first shot of the opening titles, a molotov cocktail striking the ground in front of Big Ben, this film moves with breathtaking speed and energy, and is guaranteed to push the emotional buttons of any political junkie.

It is sometime in the early 90s, and the Conservatives have been tossed out of power by the Labour Party in a landslide- not led by Tony Blair, but by a charismatic and unapologetically socialist steelworker and union organizer, Harry Perkins. Ray McInally plays the canny, unpretentious Yorkshireman to perfection. The vultures of the upper-class Establishment, the gutter media, the MI5 and the CIA gather to try to undermine Perkins' effective and popular government.

The show is witty, fast-paced, and deliciously paranoid. Acting, dialogue and editing (almost MTV-like compared to the usual sober pace of British TV dramas) come together perfectly. Even if the cold-war setting is a bit outdated and even if you don't share the film's left-wing politics, you will be moved to man the barricades by the time the last chilling image fades.

This film deserves video revival, as a true masterpiece of television craft. Search the web regularly for re-releases- you won't be sorry!

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