The BBC have released images for upcoming three-part drama The Politician’s Husband. A bookend to the multi award winning The Politician’s Wife, The Politician’s Husband will be produced for BBC Two by Daybreak Pictures and directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Our Friends in the North, The Borgias, Boardwalk Empire).
A highly authored, gripping drama The Politician’s Husband follows the shifting balance of power in a political marriage and the ensuing consequences when a wife becomes more successful than her husband.
Writer and creator Paula Milne (White Heat, Small Island, The Virgin Queen, The Fragile Heart) says: “It is said that all power corrupts but the power balance within a marriage can be unspoken and subtle whereas the power games in politics are more overt and manipulatory. The drama explores the personal realm of a political marriage played against the ruthless hubris of Westminster politics – and what can happen when those two realms collide.”
Senior Cabinet Minister, Aiden Hoynes (Tennant), is happily married to Freya (Watson), a junior minister. When we meet Aiden he is a rising star in Westminster. He went into Parliament driven by idealism, but after his son Noah was diagnosed with Aspergers he allowed himself to be sucked into the power games of Westminster, which provided him with a place to hide.
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “Paula Milne returns to BBC Two with a fine piece of drama that manages to combine the political and domestic worlds so elegantly. Starring David Tennant and Emily Watson, it demonstrates the channel’s continued commitment to original British drama.”
Freya Gardner (Watson), although equally able, has put the brakes on her own political career in order to provide stability for the family. But even as a Junior Minister, most recognize she is a political star in the making.
David admits in a recent BBC interview that he loves a bit political drama saying, “The West Wing is probably my favourite television series of all time. There’s just something about that world. There are very few areas in life where the stakes are so high; where the power struggles influence not just the lives of the people involved, but also the lives of everyone they represent. It’s almost Greek in that way, in terms of the stakes being so monumental and the power struggles going on in that world being so petty – and yet so universally important.
I also remembered The Politician’s Wife being a really big deal when it came out in 1995. I came back to it before we started filming The Politician’s Husband and it was fantastically juicy to watch. Paula really caught that moment in time when a certain echelon of the ruling classes began to realise, perhaps, that they weren’t able to get away with whatever the hell they liked anymore. It was the beginning of the end for a certain type of politics – or at least of a certain type of public life, anyway. And I think she told that story very well. The Politician’s Husband isn’t a straight sequel. It’s inspired by similar territory, I suppose, but the story is very much drawn from today’s world.
The character I play in the drama is Aiden Hoynes. He’s a member of the cabinet and he’s very well regarded. He’s clearly seen as a potential leader of the future. It’s probably not helpful to find real-life political candidates to cast him as – I didn’t base him on one particular individual (which is probably just as well because I don’t think that would have done anyone any favours!). But he’s certainly a man who’s doing very well for himself.”
David Aukin, Executive Producer and Creative Executive for Daybreak Pictures, adds: “We’re delighted to be working again with Paula Milne who has delivered not only a cracking political thriller, but a forensic dissection of a modern marriage.”
Bruce Babbish, played by Ed Stoppard (Upstairs Downstairs, Any Human Heart), is one of Aiden’s closet friends. Bruce chose a political career, not out of ideology but because it suited his Machiavellian nature and lust for power and its trappings. For him the fun lies in the chase, in second guessing his opponents. Bruce is ambitious and even Aiden isn’t immune from his friend’s ruthless streak.
The stellar cast also includes: Jack Shepherd (The Nativity, WyCliffe) as Aiden’s Father Joe; Roger Allam (The Queen, The Thick of It) as Chief Whip Marcus Fitzwallace and Oscar Kennedy (Toast, Great Expectations, Hunted) as the Hoynes’ son Noah.
The Politician’s Husband starts at 9.00pm on Thursday 25th April on BBC2