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Very British Coup [DVD] [1988] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Actors: Ray McAnally, Marjorie Yates, Geoffrey Beevers, Hugh Martin, Keith Allen
  • Producers: Peter Ansorge
  • Format: Colour, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Aug 2003
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009WNVO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,810 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Harry Perkins, steel worker and trade unionist from Sheffield, becomes Prime Minister of the UK by an overwhelming majority, partly because of corruption and public disillusionment with the Conservative Party and financial institutions of the City of London. The IMF and the military and secret services of the UK (and USA) are unhappy with the non-nuclear and neutral aspirations of his party and are supported in their fears by nationalistic media moguls. Quietly, the protagonist Harry is driven by an underlying desire to compensate for the corporate manslaughter of his granddad, "who were killed at work" when he was splashed by molten steel. Harry inherited his shaving mug, nothing more, and was originally determined to see workers participate in decision making for safety on the job. As his national-political consciousness grew he formed a wider agenda for a reinvestment in health and education as well as public ownership of public utilities. Harry maintains his drive despite sex scandals and suicide involving his colleagues and the assassination of his trusted military advisor Monty Kowalski. Harry says that "the dead [read: his grandfather, Annette Newson and Monty] ask the best questions, and we are answerable". He finds some personal support in his ex-lover Helen, a passionate advocate for alternate economic strategies, and Harry's spy in the corridors of power; Thompson, an investigative journalist. But ultimately this is a story about one man's convictions.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. T. Rogers on 3 April 2013
Format: Paperback
Among politics junkies nowadays, Chris Mullin is best remembered for his laudable campaigns against miscarriages of justice. That's when he is remembered at all, for he was an obscure politician. What many don't know is that he also once wrote a rather good novel. 'A Very British Coup' is one of the most fun thrillers you will ever read, though it does help if you have a general interest in politics. Not real politics, but the type of counterfeit that requires you to vote tribally and thoughtlessly, placing an 'X' in a box once every few years.

In truth, politics is quite a dry business. In a way, Mullin succeeds here because he portrays the political game in a way that we would like to believe it is but which, deep down, we know it isn't. Here there are 'goodies' and 'baddies' of the type that resemble the cynical cut-outs portrayed in the popular media and from the demagogic margins. Real politics isn't like that, but the fantasy world depicted by the media eschews reality for false dichotomies, moral outrage, construed conflict and manufactured confrontation. The central character in 'A Very British Coup', and the hero, is 'Harry Perkins', a populist left-wing politician who somehow becomes Prime Minister. Perkins has campaigned in poetry and plans to govern in overt, hard-left prose. Railed against him are the shadowy forces of the Establishment: in the main, certain rogue figures in the intelligence community who do not want to see Britain transformed into what, presumably, Perkins would consider a 'fair' society. The plot charts the machinations of Perkins' enemies and the hero's fight against them. The plans to thwart Perkins get nastier as the story progresses.

The naiveté and political illiteracy of the premise doesn't matter.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Paulinderwick on 6 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback
This is not a follow up to Chris Mullin's book 'A Very British Coup' - this IS Chris Mullin's book 'A Very British Coup' under a new title because of a TV tie-in. A new version of the TV series is being shown under a new title and so the book is retitled too. Amazon do not make this clear (I wonder if they even realise it) but if, like me, you have the original DO NOT buy this book. If you do NOT have the original and you remember the 70's and the dark rumours concerning Harold Wilson and the secret service of the day then you will enjoy this I am sure.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By the drumer on 14 Dec 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic DVD . Magnificently acted ( A fitting tribute to Ray McAnally ) As someone who was involved in the political scene of that time I found the characters frighteningly real. A great political thriller and superb read. The political analysis is spot on. Would give it six stars if I could
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Andy V on 2 April 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A Very British Coup is one of the landmark political dramas. Gripping from the outset. The election of a truly left-wing government and Prime Minister, who are intent on driving through their left-wing (and popular) agenda, scares the establishment into increasingly desperate machinations to discredit the elected representatives and regain control. What makes this drama so compulsive is the plausibility. I have an uneasy feeling that the situation this film portrays is more prophesy than entertainment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I. Young on 10 Mar 2009
Format: DVD
Expecting this to be an interesting historical piece (even in the 80s a lot of the source material was based on the experience of leftist governments in the 70s) there was so much to enjoy that is as relevant as ever. The reference early on to jailing city bankers who had messed up the economy raised a smile. The compliant pro-American free market Labour politicians, who plotted against Perkins we know only too well. Harry Perkins is still the British left's Jed Bartlett, the best fictional leader we never had
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. N. Jelley on 18 Oct 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Based on a 1970s novel this TV movie shows the son of a steelwoker Harry Perkins as Britain's first Radical, Pro-Communist, Labour Prime Minister. He has to deal with party factions, difficult unions and media moghals as well as a conspiracy of government officals and secret agents who seek his downfall. A very British coup, no blood, no revolution, just constant pressure and obstruction to force his resignation. Slickly made with excellent acting from Ray McAnally as the blunt spoken Perkins who is more devious than he seems. I remember this well from Thatcherite '88 when a socialist goverment was truly in the realms of fiction.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Francisco on 14 Nov 2004
Format: DVD
From what I gather from the interview on the DVD, the book was written at a time when politics was polarised and the different parties had very little in the way of common ground. Like "Yes, Minister" it takes the idea that the Civil Service has its own policies and agenda and runs with it.
The story is that a Socialist Labour Party is elected. That automatically puts the party on the wrong side of the press (especially a barely-disguised Murdoch like figure), the "Establishment" and, with their nuclear disarmament policy, the US.
As other reviewers have commented, the plot is that the above 3 disaffected parties launch their own, clandestine, campaign to unseat the current Prime Minister.
The film asks whether the electorate chooses the Goverment or the Establisment chooses the electorate. The film is plausible and is, consequently, scary.
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