Monday, 20 May 2013

"House of Cards" BBC 1990 vs "House of Cards" 2013 Netflix

Granted - Netflix's "House of Cards" is terrific television with Kevin Spacey commanding each scene. But check out the original "House of Cards"(1990), set in post Thatcher Britain. The BBC version comprised four episodes, each lasting 55 minutes. I think in Australia it was shown over two nights, 2 hours each night.

Ian Richardson (playing the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party) does his marvellous bit addressing the camera, outlining his machinations, just as Kevin Spacey has fun with the audience.

Michael Dobbs (later Baron Dobbs) was the Deputy Chairman of the Tory Party then Chief of Staff in the Thatcher Government. He wrote a trilogy, later adapted for television: "To Play the King" (1993) and "The Final Cut" (1995). Andrew Davies was on board in both "House of Cards" adaptations. Both versions chronicle F.U.'s rise to power, Francis Urquhart becoming Prime Minister in the final instalment of the BBC series as Francis Underwood is President in Season 3 (2015). Francis's wife has a more important role in the Netflix version (brilliantly played by Robin Wright).
Creator and head writer of the US series, Beau Willimon, has enriched and deepened "House of Cards", creating nearly 39 hours (3 seasons, each with 13 episodes) of engrossing television.

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