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The contrast was too stark. On Monday evening the BBC screened the latest part of its astonishingly good five-part Thatcher documentary. We hear a lot about Americans such as Ken Burns (Vietnam, and much else) taking documentary-making, via large budgets provided by the streaming giants, to new heights in recent years. Well, the team on Thatcher: A Very British Revolution have outdone them all in storytelling terms, with their use of offcuts from television news footage, stills, crisp interviews and sharp editing . Executive producer Steve Condie and director John House have remade the political documentary and created a mini-masterpiece.
The third episode dealt with Thatcher at her peak – seeing off enemies, triumphing but creating casualties, and developing the warrior persona that would in her third term mutate until intransigence brought her down. It was a gripping portrait in leadership of someone brilliant, human, complex, flawed.
Half an hour later, on the same channel, Chancellor Philip Hammond was interviewed on BBC Newsnight.