At home with the Balls family

22 April 2013

Do you recall The Politician’s Wife by Paula Milne? It was a TV drama that aired in the dying days of the Major government. Milne recognised that Major’s government was more Basic Instinct than ‘Back to Basics’, emphasising the toxicity, hypocrisy and general sordidness of the era. It was tremendous stuff.

So praise the Lord: Milne is back with a sequel. The Politician’s Husband gets underway this week on BBC2. The subject has set tongues wagging. Of whom was Milne thinking when setting her drama in the court of a grumpy and doomed prime minister, with leadership rumours swirling and one family destroyed by lust for power?

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‘I would be disingenuous if said that was not in my mind’, Milne told a media crowd on Friday night when asked about the Miliband brothers. ‘There has to be a recognition factor for the audience. Odd moments where people go ahh.’

Viewers may recognise more than a re-run of Cain and Abel. The relationship between David Tennant and Emily Watson’s characters – a husband and wife who are both highflying MPs – bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper,

‘I watched Prince William’s wedding on television and the camera panned around the Abbey. Yvette was talking and Ed was looking her with such pure love. It was so unexpectedly touching because he is so thuggish in his persona, it was so touching. That it really reinforced what I was trying to do.’

Milne has not been in contact with the Ballses, which, when they see the series, may turn out to have been a wise move.

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Show comments
  • John Lea

    Ah, what a lovely photo to accompany piece. Don’t they simply embody the downtrodden working-classes they claim to represent. You can imagine them strolling along, arm in arm, through some sink estate in Manchester or Glasgow, wondering where the local feral youths get their vanilla cortadoes and fennel quiche.

  • Austin Barry

    One does feel sorry for the slight Yvette who must, being Balls wife, occasionally come under a lot of pressure.

  • Aaron D Highside

    Mrs Balls was always a very drab lady, then all of a sudden, a couple of years ago, she started washing her hair, using blusher, mascara and lippy. Next Labour loony leader?

    • HFC

      Doesn’t work though.

  • Big Harry

    Like The Politicians Husband, the politician wailed and rended garments for all women shortlists, until her husband needed a safe seat to stand in, then, piurely by co-incidence of course, all women shortlists didn’t count in that constituency., New Labour – hypocrites par excellence.

  • madasafish

    I think you are all being unkind to the Balls family. It’s bad enough being the joint author of the UK’s economic decline but to have your family life sneered at is just OTT. Have some respect for MPs who deserve our respect and support.

    On second thoughts… :-)

    • Joseph Alan Jones

      You will be telling me next that one can polish excreta.

  • Wally Wright

    I don’t normally condone domestic violence, but in this case I’d make an exception. I think she beats him up.
    As for the Miliband Bros, it’s obvious that Ed’s just getting his revenge for David putting lithium on his cornflakes when he was young.

  • Joseph Alan Jones

    Is Balls the laptop thief? He looks fat and greedy!

    • Ray Veysey

      Well he is certainly fat and greedy, well spotted.

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