Margaret Thatcher was a very complicated woman. She could also be quite tough, as her nickname The Iron Lady of Britain attests. Love her or hate her though, as Prime Minister she left her mark on England like nobody since Churchill. The Rise And Fall of Margaret Thatcher is a BBC production which has just been released to DVD. In the three films that make up the two-disc set, we meet this extraordinary woman in a variety of situations. One thing that remains a constant is her resolve to bend the world to her point of view, no matter what the consequences.
The first film, The Long Walk To Finchley reveals the ambitious young conservative on her way to winning a seat in Parliament. It was a ten-year process, in which she was confronted with every foul remnant of the venerable old boys club, yet Thatcher persevered. The movie “imagines” what actually went on behind the scenes during these years, but it is unlikely that any of the events depicted will make her flinch. She is shown to be a more than capable politician, who took it upon herself to break the glass ceiling of Parliament with her election in 1959.
The second installment in the trilogy is The Falklands Play. We are now in 1982, Margaret Thatcher is England’s Prime Minister, and Argentina have become belligerent over the Falkland Islands. Although Mrs. Thatcher had faced a number of crises over the years, the situation in the Falklands was by far the most significant.
The war was between Great Britain and Argentina over this small group of islands in the South Atlantic. To the rest of the world, the conflict seemed trivial, for the islands constituted a very tiny portion of land, and were thousands of miles away from the U.K. Thatcher viewed things differently. She still believed in the British Empire, and that this was a direct threat against it. Her pursuit of the war was seen by many as foolish gesture meant to restore the glory of England to a past that was gone forever.