The venerable Stephen Fry has been promoted – to British Prime Minister, no less. Ok, so he’s not about to oust Davey C as the nation’s premier… Instead, the writer, presenter and all-round funnyman has just been confirmed to star opposite Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer in the brand new series of 24, filming in London as we speak. Exciting stuff.
But as the head of state, we reckon Stephen’s got his work cut out for him. He joins an illustrious list of British acting talent who have taken turns to portray the PM in various guises. We thought we’d help him out by doing his homework for him. So, here it is – we’ve put our blood, toil, tears and sweat into this – our round-up of five of the best British Prime Ministers in screen history.
1. Hugh Grant as Prime Minister David in Love Actually
The one and only. Hugh jumped (for our love) back in 2003 as David – the PM with no surname but one hell of a backbone as he stood up to his smarmy American counterpart (Billy Bob Thornton) and sashayed through Downing Street to the tune of the Pointer Sisters. We’ve never loved Hugh Grant more.
2. Michael Sheen as Prime Minister Tony Blair in The Queen
The critics’ choice – Michael spent the spring of 2006 collecting gong after gong for his portrayal of the Labour PM in Stephen Frears’ The Queen – and it wasn’t the first time he’d played him. 2003’s The Deal preceded his high-profile gig and he wasn’t quite done yet, choosing to play Blair one final time in 2010’s The Special Relationship opposite Dennis Quaid. The accent is uncanny – and we rather enjoy him going all googly in front of Helen Mirren (who wouldn’t, eh?)
3. Paul Eddington as Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister
The prospect of being elected Prime Minister is no doubt a little scary, but it’s never a good sign if the head of government is rendered literally speechless. That was Jim Hacker when he was unexpectedly bumped up to the top job. The moment Yes, Minister became Yes, Prime Minister was something of a comic gem, solicited by the ever-grouchy Sir Humphrey, of course…
4. Anthony Head as Prime Minister in Little Britain
What would you do when confronted by an over-amorous David Walliams? Anthony Head faced that very conundrum as the straight-laced PM in Little Britain, schmoozing – and reluctantly smooching – to George Michael’s Careless Whisper with his love-struck aide Sebastian (played by Walliams). We bet he’s never going to dance again after this…
5. Rory Kinnear as Prime Minister Michael Callow in Black Mirror
And if you thought Anthony Head was up against it, spare a thought for poor Michael Callow in Black Mirror. Charlie Brooker’s dark satire had his PM (played by Rory Kinnear) forced to shag a pig on live television to save the skin of the nation’s kidnapped sweetheart, Princess Susannah. No, Michael – we’re not joking…