|Elizabeth (Diane Fletcher) and Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson).|
PLOT SUMMARY: The race for the Tory party leadership begins, with Environment Minister Michael Samuels (Damien Thomas) and Foreign Minister Patrick Woolton (Malcolm Tierney) the front runners. Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) ensures that both Mattie Storin (Susannah Harker)'s newspaper and the ex Prime Minister (David Lyon) back him. He also sleeps with her, but is unaware that she has taped their conversations. Moreover, she is investigating the insider trading scandal, realises that Charles Collingridge (James Villiers) was framed, and that Conservative Central Office is implicated. She turns to Urquhart for help, unaware that he is the one arranging for her to be scared off the case. She agrees to let "daddy" investigate.
COMMENTS: Oh but this episode is so rich in dramatic irony. The ex PM fawning over Urquhart, his loyal lapdog, when all the time it's Urquhart who set the hounds on him. And then the irony of Urquhart actually rather liking and respecting Woolton, while simultaneously entrapping him in a honey pot. And finally, Mattie trusting in "daddy" - harmless, crumbly old aristo - unaware that he is as rapacious as any new-monied Tory. The language is also a delight. Vicious, witty, layer upon layer of class hatred - simply delicious and menacing and building up our image of Urquhart as a ruthless man:
"His deepest need was that people should like him. An admirable trait, that... in a spaniel or a whore, not, I think, in a Prime Minister. And we've done him a favour, too, if he did but know it. He was in the trap and screaming from the moment he took office. We've simply put the poor bastard out of his agony."