How to Be an Ex-Prime Minister (2007)



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Complete credited cast:
Michael Cockerell Michael Cockerell ... Himself - Reporter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tony Blair ... Himself (archive footage)
Robin Butler Robin Butler ... Himself - Former Cabinet Secretary (as Lord Butler)
James Callaghan James Callaghan ... Himself - Prime Minister, 1976-1979
Alastair Campbell ... Himself - Blair's Press Secretary, 1997-2000
Winston Churchill ... Himself (archive footage)
Winston Churchill Winston Churchill ... Himself - Winston Churchill's Grandson
Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke ... Himself - Cabinet Minister, 1985-1987 (as Kenneth Clarke MP)
Bernard Donoughue Bernard Donoughue ... Himself - Senior Wilson Advisor, 1974-1976 (as Lord Donoughue)
Edward Heath Edward Heath ... Himself - Prime Minister, 1970-1974
Douglas Hurd Douglas Hurd ... Himself - Home Secretary, 1985-1989 (as Lord Hurd)
Bernard Ingham Bernard Ingham ... Himself - Mrs. Thatcher's Press Secretary, 1979-1990 (as Sir Bernard Ingham)
Margaret Jay Margaret Jay ... Herself - James Callaghan's Daughter (as Baroness Jay)
Tim Kitson Tim Kitson ... Himself - Heath's Parliamentary Secretary, 1970-1974 (as Sir Tim Kitson)
Alexander Macmillan Alexander Macmillan ... Himself - Harold Macmillan's Grandson (as Lord Stockton)


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Release Date:

24 June 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

How to be ex-Prime Minister See more »

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Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 12 May 2010 (2010) See more »

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A bit superficial and light perhaps but still an enjoyable history of former British Prime Ministers
12 July 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

27th June 2007 was the date that Tony Blair selected to step aside and allow Gordon Brown to become Prime Minister of Great Britain. When this film was screened, a few days before that, we didn't yet know what Tony Blair was going to do next so this was presented as a chance for him to learn from his predecessors. As such, the film looks back over decades of ex-Prime Ministers and looks at the challenge of losing political power overnight, where they lived and how they earned their keep.

The film opens with a light-hearted piece of music that sets the tone of this documentary – never really flippant or silly but certainly not a serious historical documentary. Instead it is quite a superficial but interesting skirt across a collection of politicians. Few of the actual ex-Prime Ministers themselves are in the film (apart from of course, John Major, who is effortlessly classy and well spoken as normal) but the use of clips and supporting contributions still makes it worthwhile. As someone with little knowledge but a lot of interest in politics and history, the approach worked as it was breezy and interesting without ever looking into the detail or depth.

Of course, watching it after Blair has already stepped down, I could not find myself more interested in the documentary that looks back at what Tony did next. As some sort of peace envoy to the Middle East, one has to wonder if it will see him repeat his good work in Northern Ireland or be the Blair that gave us the peace-bringing action in Iraq. Anyway, in the absence of that film, this one will do the job as a light entertainment historical documentary that uses clips and contributions well to provide a "what next" history of key figures in British political history.

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