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Number Ten [Unknown Binding]

Sue Townsend
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Oct 2002
Jack Spratt is a policeman on the door of Number Ten. When the Prime Minister decides that the only way to get closer to the men and women on the street is to travel around the country incognito and find out what they really think, he enlists Jack's help. Leaving his high-powered, ambitious wife to hold the fort, he and Jack set out. But neither can foresee how their extraordinary odyssey will impact on world affairs. Or their own lives.

Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd; First edition edition (31 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071814368X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718143688
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,246,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Leicester in 1946, Sue left school at 15 years of age. She married at 18, and by 23 was a single parent with three children. She worked in a variety of jobs including factory worker, shop assistant, and as a youth worker on adventure playgrounds. She wrote in secret for twenty years, eventually joining a writers' group at the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester in her thirties.

At the age of 35, she won the Thames Television Playwright Award for her first play, Womberang, and started her writing career. Other plays followed including The Great Celestial Cow (1984), Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (1990), and most recently You, me and Wii (2010), but she became most famous for her series of books about Adrian Mole, which she originally began writing in 1975.

The first of these, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ was published in 1982 and was followed by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984). These two books made her the best-selling novelist of the 1980s. They have been followed by several more in the same series including Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1993); Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004); and most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (2009). The books have been adapted for radio, television and theatre; the first being broadcast on radio in 1982. Townsend also wrote the screenplays for television adaptations of the first and second books and Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (published 1998, BBC television adaptation 2001).

Several of her books have been adapted for the stage, including The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾: The Play (1985) and The Queen and I: a Play with Songs (1994), which was performed by the Out of Joint Touring Company at the Vaudeville Theatre and toured Australia. The latter is based on another of her books, in which the Royal Family become deposed and take up residence on a council estate in Leicester. Other books include Rebuilding Coventry (1988), Ghost Children (1997) and Queen Camilla (2006).

She was an honorary MA of Leicester University, and in 2008 she was made a Distinguished Honorary Fellow, the highest award the University can give. She was an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Loughborough University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her other awards include the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin, and the Frink Award at the Women of the Year Awards. In 2009 she was given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester.

Her most recent novel, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, was published in 2012 by Michael Joseph and was a giant success, selling over half a million copies to date in the UK alone.

Product Description


A wickedly entertaining and passionate swipe at New Labour (The Times)

There is a gem on nearly every page. Nothing escapes Townsend's withering pen. Satirical, witty, observant . . . a clever book (Observer)

Poignant, hilarious, heart-rending, devastating (New Statesman)

A delight. Genuinely funny . . . compassion shines through the unashamedly ironic social commentary (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Sue Townsend became Britain's bestselling author of the 1980s with her books THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE AGED 13 3/4 and THE GROWING PAINS OF ADRIAN MOLE. She is the author of seven other novels, including THE QUEEN AND I, and her collected journalism, THE PUBLIC CONFESSIONS OF A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN (AGED 55 3/4), was published in 2001. She is well known as a playwright and lives in Leicester.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's topical, it's satirical, you'll love it 12 Jan 2004
I've just read Number 10 by Sue Townsend. It was brilliant.
The PM, Edward Clare (not much concealment here) has lost touch with the people. He decides to go walkabout, incognito, in Britain, with that famous cop-at-the-front-of-number-10, who's called Jack. It's set in 2002. You'd think Sue Townsend was a mind reader: the book is well up to date even two years later, except that she thought He wouldn't invade Iraq. (She misjudged him.)
Clare and PC Jack go around Britain queing for buses and taxis, getting ripped off, visiting care homes, sink housing estates, and meeting deranged people of all descriptions.
Meanwhile, at Downing Street, Mrs Clare, the cleverest woman in Europe, goes mad without her husband and suggests that warts and amputated body parts deserve christian burial.
Also at Downing Street, Alex McPherson, Press Officer, is running news management and damage limitation and monitoring the PM's every move. Oh, and the PM is dressed as a woman and at once stage lands the lead part in an anti-establishment satirical play about a PM who's lost all his principles. .
Also at Downing Street, the Chancellor is helping the PM's son with his homework project - about Socialism.
Mrs Townsend does not like what New Labour has become, and you would soon know it. But it's laugh aloud funny.
My favourite bit: the PM's sister runs Kennels, £100 per dog per night. Being shown around, the visitors get to the dogs' quarters: Jack "..was astonished to find cubicles, carpets and soft lighting. Each dog had an outside run and a colour television; a few of them were watching Crossroads."
If your taste is for a bleak look at what New Labour has done (or not done) for Britain, this is your tome.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea and an enjoyable read..... 18 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Without giving away too much, I think that the idea of politicians developing more empathy with the people over whose lives they have power is am extremely important one. I'm not sure if Sue Townsend meant to make a statement about the detachment of politicians but irrespective of this the book is very enjoyable and pretty funny in parts too. Worth a read.
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77 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another comic gem........ 1 Nov 2002
Format:Unknown Binding
This the latest from the pen of Sue Townsend deals with the adventure that Jack Sprat the white sheep of a family of criminals who ends up guarding the door at 10 Downing Street.
When the PM is embarrassed at PMQ's he decides he needs to be seen as a man of the people and decides to take on a visit around the UK-the only problem is he decides to do it in drag so Edward Clare -the PM becomes Edwina St Clare actress and Jack is dragged along for the ride.The characters including an ambitious Chancellor of the Exchequer the all powerful media fixer and a Mandelsonesque 'best friend' are all drawn probably too near the knuckle for some but in this the fun is guessing who is being described,my favourite being the PM's wife the 'cleverest woman in the world'
The tour which takes in Edinburgh via Leeds to the Cotswolds and ends up at Jacks mothers house in Leicester which has been turned into a crack den is a another winner the characters including some that would be very easy to recognise for anyone with a smidge of political knowledge are written well and Townsends unique comic insight and a healthy dose of left wing politics makes the book another winner in my book,the inadequicies of modern Britain are dealt with in an intelligent way and there are some genuine funny moments along with a touch or two of pathos .
All in all another page turner that well deserves some of your time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and relevant, Sue Townsend at her best! 15 July 2003
Format:Unknown Binding
At times pointedly - and with artistic license always at least loosely - based on the real-life characters we have representing us in government today, this fantastic novel takes a look at some of the major issues facing Britain. Number Ten is an hilarious - the section about Saddam Hussein and Quality Street has had me giggling ever since - and palatable look at the role of prime minister and is well worth a look. I read the book in two sittings, so it is safe to say it's fairly light, but would recommend a look to anyone.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Fictional Poltical Fiction 23 Jan 2004
If, during the course of the last few years you've turned on the radio / tv - once - and caught a political headline, you'll be able to relate it to a, somewhat more highly amusing event or series of within this book. I loved it. I don't generally tend to read fiction which; again is why I loved this book - I just chuckled, sniggered and thought. The book is fantastic, if I tried to describe to story line I'm afraid I'd have to re-write the book without being vauge ; this is just non-stop, increadibly intelligent, well thought out work. Bravo Sue Townsend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A quick easy read that is funny at times but too much emphasis on the ridiculous characters which I found rather stereo typed. She writes dialogue well but never lets the story really develop. I now know why I never read any Adrian Mole!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Number Ten 16 Feb 2013
By Rosie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another Sue Townsend triumph! I love this book as I do all her others. I have even introduced these books to my husband who does not read very many books and he can't put this book down, it's hilarious. I would recommend this book to all but in particular anyone who needs cheering up!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Number Ten 14 Dec 2004
After Adrian Mole of course when you pick up a book by Sue Townsend you expect a masterpiece, unfortunately in picking up Number Ten, you get nowhere near this sort of quality.
Basically the book just isn't funny. I'm not a fan of farce anyway but this one was really quite puerile and almost childish. "Oh what a wheeze, let's dress the Prime Minister as a woman and have him tottering on high heels." "Let's call the Home Secretary John Hay instead of Jack Straw, that'll be a giggle won't it." Sorry it just doesn't work.
Also you have to question Townsend's motives for the book. Some might say, quite deservingly, Tony Blair (or Edward Clare as he's known in the book, guffaw guffaw!) needs taking down a peg or two, but the author doesn't supply any alternatives or suggests how things can be done differently. Surely if you're going to offer a criticism, even if you're trying to do it in comedy, you also offer the other side of the coin, something Townsend just doesn't deliver.
The book does have one or two poignant moments which are quite nice, but these are so thin on the ground and the juvenile comedy laid on so thick that these are quite lost. Add together some of the clumsiest stereotypes ever and really all that was missing was a good old toilet gag. Not good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect x
Published 20 days ago by Evie
5.0 out of 5 stars a great take on life
A hugely underrated writer, wish I read it earlier. a great take on life.
Published 1 month ago by Jane Walby
4.0 out of 5 stars Prime minister meeting general public incognito
Very amusing - as when the prime minister cannot relate to the general public when asked when he last traveled on public transport. Read more
Published 3 months ago by MRS EVELYN FOSTER
5.0 out of 5 stars Number 10
Great book one of her best I laughed all the way through it A good read for holidays and the quite minute or two to one self.
Published 3 months ago by Ken
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner,
this chronicle of the ordeals of a British prime minister, his attempt to get in touch with "the real people". Precise and sharp observations of dreary everyday life. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Charlotte E. Aske
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge hit
Fabulously funny, sue keeps on giving in this book, especially funny to those who are of political mind or politicians!
Published 7 months ago by Jill Shortland
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I found this so funny - it doesn't take any imagination to guess who the guy is - and in drag too.
Published 7 months ago by Janet
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and unfunny
A collection of sloppy caricatures in unbelievable scenarios. A failed attempt at satire which I struggled to finish, only doing so as it was my book club's choice of the month.
Published 8 months ago by jane leleu
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really all that funny
This seems like a strained effort by Townsend, especially since it's not really funny. The places where I chuckled a bit propably aren't where the author intended me to chuckle. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jan Patrik SahlstrÝm
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Nice easy read ... Really enjoyed it. If you fancy a good laugh go ahead and read it you won't be disappointed
Published 12 months ago by Mrs A Chaggar
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