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In To Play the King, the second part of the trilogy, we find our anti-hero comfortably installed as PM at No. 10 but facing a fresh challenge in the person of the newly crowned King (Michael Kitchen in a pitch-perfect Prince Charles impersonation), who wears his social conscience on his sleeve and publicly opposes Urquhart's hardline policies. With the help of political analyst and new mistress Sarah Harding (Kitty Aldridge), as well as that of his ambitious wife Elizabeth (Diane Fletcher), Urquhart is forced to resort to still more underhand plots. Then, in The Final Cut, we find Urquhart determined to last as long in office as Mrs Thatcher (whose statue, much to his chagrin, is about to be unveiled in front of his window). But ambitions to make a mark on the world stage, as well as his wife's desire to provide themselves a comfortable retirement nest egg, lead him into the choppy international waters of the Cyprus situation. The temptations of corrupt businessmen and his wife's goading might just have pushed Urquhart's luck too far this time.
Throughout, Richardson is a delight as the hypocritical, arrogant patrician who loathes the hoi polloi whose favour he must court at election time, and manipulates all his minions with a ruthless singlemindedness of purpose. However much a monster he seems, though, the viewer might just find themselves secretly admiring his determination and his lion-like strength of will: in contrast to many drab modern politicians, at least he knows what he wants, and makes sure he gets it. If it's strong leadership you want, Urquhart's your man.
On the DVD: The House of Cards trilogy has the three four-part series on three double-sided discs, with two hour-long episodes on each side of each disc. The first episodes come with a commentary from Andrew Davies and Ian Richardson, who share their memories and anecdotes. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is fantastic. One of the best British TV dramas of all time. Look out for a powerhouse acting performance by Ian Richardson, who is totally convincing in the role. Read morePublished 17 hours ago by Ben
This was very substandard. The recording was on two sides of the disc and it was extremely difficult to determine how to insert the disc into the player as the title definition... Read morePublished 6 days ago by matthew brewis
Thrilling story about the rise and fall of a party whip. Ian Richardson has never been better!Published 7 days ago by Tord Eriksson
I bought this to compare with the more recent US version. This is great, slightly amusing through being dated from the 90s and Ian Richardson is magnificent as Urqhart. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Steve Smith
Really enjoyed this, an interesting look into political life, very entertaining. I would definitely recommend it. Reminded me of Yes Minister at timesPublished 11 days ago by Julie
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