on 17 October 2007
I was a fan of this when it first aired on BBC2. It is a drama set against the backdrop of politics, focussing on young Labour and Tory members. The central characters are brothers Danny and Scott Foster. Danny is an idealist, working for Jo Porter Labour junior minister at the Home Office. Scott worked for the party, but left to join Templeton Carter, a lobbying firm, and is cynical about politics. Their late father was a labour MP for the Northern Constituency of Sedley. Ashika Chandiramani is special advisor to James Northcote, tory shadow minister. She is smart, ambitious, and future tory candidate. When Scott is urged by his boss to build up some tory contacts, he arranges a meeting with James Northcote. James sends Ashika in his place, and the attraction between Scott and Ashika is obvious from the start. When the sitting Labour MP for Sedley dies, and a bye-election is called, Ashika gets the tory nomination, and Scott is drafted in by the labour party to run their campaign.
This drama is funny, sexy, well written, and beautifully acted by established stars such as Patrick Baladi (The Office) and Raquel Cassidy (teachers) Peter Wight and new talents, Shelley Conn, Matt Smith, Andrew Buchan, Andrea Riseborough & Clemency Burton Hill Andrea, Pip Carter. It's a shame that BBC didn't decide to go with a second series, but this series can stand alone. I've deducted one star from my rating, because the music, which was such an integral part of the series as broadcast (Razorlight, The Guillemots, Aha amongst others) has been changed on the DVD version. Disappointing, but I presume a rights problem...even still drama doesn't get much better than this.
on 27 February 2008
Loved this - real grown-ups' telly and I don't mean lots of sex and gore as in how something like Torchwood is supposed to be "grown-up", but rather in the sense of being wise, thought-provoking, perceptive, politically realistic and about ideas and human nature. Not often that you get something so witty, grown-up, engrossing and ENTERTAINING on the box. The visuals and the acting were so convincing it felt like you were there, and I found I became very involved in it. There were sympathetic characters to engage with who would then go and do something unacceptable which was shocking but you could understand how they had got there. There were also plenty of out-and-out horrors who nevertheless had their moments of compassion so, like life, you never knew what was coming next. The drama was never pushed to the point where it lost credibility and some scenes still stick in my memory - like what happens to someone moments after a drunken argument. Another scene where the lovers are stealing time (and the opportunity to have sex) in a white room in a country house, and although the relationship is all wrong, you can see how they got there and why that place and time has its attraction. It was a convincing portrayal of the nitty-gritty of politics from constituency meeting to Westminster. The whole thing is shot for realism, and it works, so even the style expresses the mores and obsessions of our time. Couldn't believe it was such a short series, and couldn't believe it didn't make it to a second series - what is WRONG with our tv culture that this didn't "succeed"? I am so glad it is out on DVD. I'm sending it to my mum because she loved it too. So there.
on 2 February 2011
When Party Animals was first broadcast on BBC2 it passed me by completely. It wasn't until it got a repeat run on BBC4 that a friend told me I should watch. I'm beyond glad that I did.
It basically intertwines the personal lives of the central cast with a glimpse of the political rivalries that are so prevalent in Westminster. Jo Porter is a Labour MP with a dry sense of humour who is fast approaching complete exhaustion, with her work and with her life generally. Her researcher Danny is utterly faithful to her. Kirsty, a second researcher (more of an intern) joins Jo's office and Danny soon develops a crush. This provides one of the central plot lines of the series - the geeky, lust-struck puppy who longs for his aloof, manipulative colleague. It's an interesting dynamic and Matt Smith (now better known as Doctor Who) plays the role of Danny with spark whilst Andrea Riseborough is infuriatingly difficult to decipher as Kirsty, but it's Raquel Cassidy as Jo Porter who steals the show, flitting between gritty determination to succeed and manic depressive alcoholism via way of some fabulously unpredictable mood swings.
Jo has something of a rivalry with Conservative MP James Northcote (well known TV face Patrick Baladi). Unfortunately James isn't an especially interesting character, and is mostly rather weak and delusional, sure that he can enjoy the best of both worlds with both his wife back home in Devon and his researcher Ashika. That said it's refreshing that the MP having an affair isn't portrayed as a sleaze, just as a regular man in love (or so he thinks) with two people. Shelley Conn, however (you may know her from Mistresses or Strike Back) gives the performance of her life as Ashika, a vastly complex woman with ambitions way beyond being a political researcher which will ultimately mean the end for she and James. Also working for James is Matt Baker, a gay researcher who comes under stick from fellow politicians for his sexuality. However the programme avoids stereotyping once again, and Matt is portrayed as a grounded, dedicated worker who stands by Ashika regardless of where her career takes her.
Rounding off the cast (and probably the most central character) is Scott Foster. He's Danny's brother and a lobbyist who is quickly becoming severely disillusioned with his work. A tragic event at the beginning of the series takes him on a personal journey which is only enhanced when he strikes up a relationship with Ashika - this despite her being a Conservative, whereas Scott's own father was a Labour MP. Andrew Buchan gives a truly standout performance in the role, and has quite rightly since gone on to enjoy success in a host of television drama such as The Fixer, Garrow's Law and most recently The Nativity.
Not one of the eight episodes is a filler; each one drives the plot forward whilst continually developing the characters. By the end of the series the dynamics have changed so much that it could almost be a different show, and yet it totally works, possibly because the episodes cover quite a large time span during which much changes in these peoples' professional lives. Beautifully shot, outstandingly acted, intricately storylined... I could go on but I'd be here all day!
I'd go so far as to say it would earn a place in the Top 10 television dramas ever made. It's such a crying shame that it never received the publicity or audience it so deserved. Buy it - you won't regret it.
on 22 September 2013
Many other reviewers have described the general plot and characters very well, so I won't go over those again in detail. Like many of those other reviewers I caught some of this series when it was shown on BBC2 I believe back in early 2007. In the days before I regularly used iPlayer I missed most of the series, but was impressed with the bits I had seen, in particular Andrew Buchan and Matt Smith as the two brothers at the heart of the political turmoil. Both were convincing as their characters individually and as brothers - both have gone on to highly successful careers in a string of drama series, often in staring roles, many of which I have also enjoyed, like The Fixer, Garrow's Law, Broadchurch and Doctor Who.
With an interest in the world of politics, but disillusioned with many current politicians, I identified closely with Danny's idealism, but also with the dilemmas that Scott faced too. The chaotic private lives of the two main MP's and the behind the scenes treachery of some of the important other characters all rang true of New Labour and the then just about resurgent Tories. Shelley Conn as Ashika the British Asian rising star, torn between what she knows and the possibilities that might be there for her was also a convincing character, as were Patrick Baladi and Raquel Cassidy as the two main MPs. In fact the casting and acting was particularly good throughout.
The writing, filming and music, as well as the great performances by everyone involved, really made this captivating viewing. The mix of down to earth characters and totally out of touch characters felt right and the mix of humour, intrigue and a few high drama moments all made it very addictive - I watched the whole series in three sessions over 3 days. Reflecting at the end, I felt that it wasn't really totally true to life, depicting real events as a drama, although a few real life events are referenced from time to time. It is a very good summary of the various motivations and dilemmas of the people who serve as MPs and their staff, emphasising their human frailties, weaknesses and just occasionally some goodness, but always emphasising that they are just people like us. Overall it is a convincing depiction of the sort of things that almost certainly go on and that sometimes appear in the tabloids and daily news.
If you enjoy people watching type of drama, wondering what various characters are going to do next, or you love the behind the scenes story of the daily lives of politicians then you will probably enjoy this series, and at around £5 for almost 8 hours of drama had to resist!
on 12 April 2012
'Party Animals' tells the blackly funny and dramatic tale of a disparate group of young(ish) people involved in the dirty but fascinating world of politics. It's probably the best such drama shown by the BBC since "Our Friends in the North", featuring a 'to die for' cast on their way up...ergo Matt Smith, Andrea Riseborough, Patrick Baladi, Raquel Cassidy, the beautiful Shelley Conn, and Andrew Buchan (why hasn't he been in more since?...he's exceptional in this, playing the role of a sleezy womanising lobbyist).
It beggars belief that a second series was not commissioned, as the interweaving storylines had so much further to run, and it's not too late. We could skip several years, and show our characters older and probably wiser?...OK, even more devious. BBC - if you are reading this, pay attention.
Recommended viewing, and an absolute bargain. Buy it for those damp cold summer evenings when the TV companies abandon any attempt at scheduling something decent/cerebral to watch. Simply Brilliant!
on 25 May 2011
This is a really enjoyable well acted Drama. All the central performances are outstanding. The characters are a mix of types with likeable and sometimes horrible traits but that is what makes it so much fun. Nobody is perfect and the plot arises out of consequences of their actions. There are no sudden deaths, no lost letters, just people facing up to the effects their actions have on others.
One series was simply not enough. The TV companies need to get out of a budget centered approach and really grow Drama. This was a great start but sadly looks like it will remain a one off. Get it whilst there are bargains to be had.
on 20 October 2007
Loved this series set in the political world in London. Fantastic acting all round by the cast, excellent script, very fast moving, just fab all round (made even better by the gorgeous and fantastic Andrew Buchan-keep an eye on him!!)
Only thing that lets the series down is the very open ending-knowing now that there won't be a second series will leave us forever wondering.........
'Party Animals' is a BBC production of eight episodes that saw only one season. That is a shame,as I became familiar with the characters I liked their stories and the way it was told.
This series reminded me of the US 'West Wing'. Young,energetic people in the place of power, assisting their bosses in their role in the big time, in this case 'Parilment'. The series MPs, advisors, researchers and lobbyists making their way through Westminster. Scott Foster plays Andrew Buchan, a lobbyist on the Labour side who is becoming increasingly tired and burnt out protecting and informing the rich and infamous. He lives with his younger brother Danny, played by Matt Smith, who works as a researcher for Junior Minister Jo Porter played by Raquel Cassidy. Danny Has a crush on the newintern Kirsty MacKenzie, played by Andrea Riseborough.
Ashika Chandrimani, plays Shelley Conn, the chief advisor to Shadow Minister James Northcote. they are having an affair, a risky prospect, no matter if he is married or not.
"The relationship between Scott and Danny feels, both are idealistic and take Fter their father who was a Labour Minister. Jo Porter is stressed with her job, her marriage and her child, and she brings this all to work, where Danny and Kirsty cater to her every whim. Politics in the office and on the big stage are well portrayed.
The tone of Party Animals is that of work, drink, drugs and sex. this is a nicely scripted series with the characters' motivation at the forefront. Scott Foster has a great deal of charisma, and I would bet he moves on quickly to some juicy parts. Shelly Conn is a superb actress as Matt Smith is an actor. These are young professionals with a career in front of them.
I was intrigued with this first series and am sorry to read there will not be a series two. It may be the title 'Party Animals' was off-putting.
Recommended . prisrob 04-01-13
on 5 November 2007
Intelligent, classy tv drama at its very best. Reviews were good but viewing figures not so, because the BBC originally aired it against a heavily-promoted series and then tucked away its repeat on BBC4, without alerting all those who had pleaded for a repeat. So pleased it's now on DVD. Bought mine, now getting one for a Christmas present.
on 6 May 2010
I have been hoping that this will get another TV airing since Matt Smith became the new Dr Who. This drama follows a pair of brothers Danny and Scott (Smith and hugely talented Andrew Buchan) who work behind the scenes in politics. Danny as the researcher for a junior minister and scott as a lobbyist. It follows them in the run up to a by-election in a seat which had been held by their father.
Lots of intrigue, double dealing, relationship and plot twists. The story is so realistic and well crafted it could have been a docudrama like 'The Deal'. Also featuring the impossibly beautiful Shelly Conn as the aspiring Tory Candidate and main love interest.
The writing by Ben Richards is as usual complex with well rounded, real characters and up to the minute storylines. The cast act this effortlessly in a really naturalistic way (there is way more talent in this production than their relative fame would indicate}.
The only thing I don't understand is why it never made it to a second series.