TV UK TV

Number 10 (ITV 1983 with Ian Richardson and John Stride)

UK / ITV / 7×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 13 February – 7 March 1983

Writer: Terence Feely

Taking us from the Napoleonic era up to the roaring twenties Number 10 is an anthology series made by the ITV Network in 1983.

Starring such stalwart acting talent as the superb Ian Richardson, Jeremy Brett, John Stride and Upstairs Downstairs own David Langton, the 7 part series focuses on the lives of key different prime ministers, told in non chronological style, from William Pitt the Younger to Ramsay MacDonald.

The series kicks off with Old Glad Eyes which sees John Stride playing William Gladstone who at the height of his career seems more than a little too concerned about the plight of London’s fallen women; In Underdog we move forward to the mid 1920’s when Ramsay MacDonald (Ian Richardson) is fighting to save his career. Episode 3 A Woman of Style takes us to world war one when David Lloyd George needs to shake up the whole political system.

In The Iron Duke Bernard Archard (one of those great actors whose work is often over looked or taken for granted) plays the Duke of Wellington, newly ensconsed as Prime Minister right after the Napoleonic Wars. Episode 5 takes us up to 1908 when Herbert Henry Asquith takes on the job of PM after previously being chancellor of the exchequor. Dizzy is the penultimate episode and focuses on Benjamin Disraeli (Richard Pasco) and his troubles with both the Russians and the women in his life. Finally there is Bloodline which stars the fabulous Jeremy Brett as William Pitt who of course was pretty much groomed for the prime ministership from birth.

Compelling and brilliantly played Number 10 is British drama at its best. A series that explores the problems faced by these oh so public men as they try to keep their country moving forward and at the same time trying to maintain some semblance of a private life.

cast
BERNARD ARCHARD as Duke of Wellington
IAN RICHARDSON as Ramsay MacDonald
JOHN STRIDE as Lloyd George
DENIS QUILLEY as Gladstone
JEREMY BRETT as William Pitt the Younger
DAVID LANGTON as Asquith
RICHARD PASCO as Disraeli

THE EPISODES
1. OLD GLAD EYES
2. UNDERDOG
3. A WOMAN OF STYLE
4. THE IRON DUKE
5. THE ASQUITHS
6. DIZZY
7. BLOODLINE