ENTERTAINMENT

General Election 2017: We Count Down Our Top 10 Best Ever Political TV Dramas And Comedies

'You can't run away from reality.'

06/06/2017 16:35 BST | Updated 07/06/2017 10:42 BST

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of politics about. 

The role of political drama and satire has altered in line with the real life events that inspire them and, as has been noted many times, several of Donald Trump’s decision-making processes have *trumped anything Frank Underwood could have come up with in ‘House of Cards’

Now, on both sides of the Atlantic and in Europe, screen writers are having to up their game to match anything we read in the headlines. In the meantime, if you haven’t had too much of a good thing, you can always revisit these classics, as we count down our top 10 of the best political TV shows ever...

 

10. Scandal

The show takes place in Washington, D.C. and focuses on Olivia Pope’s management crisis firm. Kerry Washington stars as the former presidential adviser turned PR whizz. At its worst, bit soapy. At its best, a fresh insight into how the fulcrum of power is handled from the outside in, how it’s about the medium not the message, and, finally some great, great clothes.

 

9. Spin

Two spin doctors - united by ambition, impeccable tailoring and a past of mentor and mentee - form the backbone of this foray into French government and its travails. Three perfect seasons and out. 

 

8. Veep

Do the corridors of power really ring to the sound of such insults? If wishing made it so... 

 

7.State of Play

When the thrillingly dark British TV show about the relationship between politics and the media, via two old, competitive friends played by David Morrissey and John Simm, was given the big screen, big-budget American treatment, Morrissey (never better) was swapped for Russell Crowe. Asked if he would ever watch the film, the British actor opined it would be like “attending the wedding of my ex-girlfriend”. 

 

6. The Thick of It

Many are called, only one is chosen... 

 

5. House of Cards (US)

Inspired by the British series of the same name, this political thriller is now in its fifth season.  Michael Kelly, who plays Frank Underwood’s chief of staff Doug Stamper, told HuffPostUK recently: 

“Even though I tell myself it’s make believe, every season we do, something happens on our show that we wrote a year before and then it comes to pass.

“This year, it was impossible to have that not happen, we were filming the election during the real election. I guess you can’t escape reality.”

 

4. Borgen

If someone had said a drama, with subtitles, about the machinations of a Danish coalition government, would have us hanging, in our millions, for the next episode.. but so it transpired. ‘Borgen’ kept us all intimately acquainted with the goings-on inside the Danish tower of power. For that, Tak.

 

3. House of Cards UK

The original and still the best deceptively understated dramas inspired by Westminster. Francis Urquhart is the Government’s chief whip, a man of many allies, innumerable connections and few friends. Who can he take into his confidence? Us, via his breaking the fourth wall and sharing his secrets with the viewer. The TV show was adapted from the novels by Michael Dobbs, former speech writer to Margaret Thatcher. Were the characters based on anyone he actually knew? You may think that…

 

2. The West Wing

For millions of Wingnuts the world over, it still remains a proper shame that Josiah Bartlett hasn’t somehow leapt off the screen and into the real Oval Office. Martin Sheen a while ago told HuffPostUK why he could never have been president, but it remains a dream for some. 

In the meantime, ‘The West Wing’ provides an alternative universe where witty, self-deprecating but impossibly glamorous people bestride the White House, walking and talking, and making the world into a better place. Oh well, one day... 

 

1. Yes Minister/Prime Minister

Now nearly four decades since its debut, the script still dazzles for its crisp wit, its richness and contemporary power. What Malcolm Tucker achieved with vinegar, Sir Humphrey Appleby pulled off with honey, as well as affording us extraordinary insight into who is really pulling what strings of state power. If you need an honest explanation of Britain’s complicated relationship with Europe, look no further... 

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