Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Political Fantasy

Some astrologers have said that astrological portents indicate women will soon be taking an increasingly powerful role in the world. I think this had connection to some of the more recently discovered celestial bodies, such as Sedna and Eris. It was bound to happen though - eventually, celestial bodies or not. The die was cast many Moons ago, in the west, when women fought and won the right to vote.

"The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" (TV and DVD) fits the theme of female power very well, albeit a tale of pure fantasy. Some fantasies take us right out of our own world and into another, even stranger, one. "Mrs Pritchard" leaves us in a reality we recognise, while creating a fantastic, unrealistic but wish-fulfilling plotline. There have been a couple of movies along vaguely similar lines, but still in male-dominant mode - "Dave" with Kevin Kline and "Man of the Year" with Robin Williams both played with the idea of an unlikely person becoming President of the USA.

British author, Sally Wainwright, explained her motivation for writing the series:
"During the last election (UK) I found that I didn't really want to vote for anybody because they all seemed as bad as each other. I thought it would be great fun to write an epic story with a central character who was prepared to stand up and point this out. Mrs Pritchard is bold enough, or some may say daft enough, to stand for parliament on the assumption that she can do just as badly as any of them but at least she will be honest". The mini-series has been screened on TV in both the UK and USA, perhaps elsewhere too. It's now available on DVD.

Jane Horrocks plays the lead, Mrs. Ros Pritchard, an ultra-capable and outspoken supermarket manager in a northern English town who (and here's the fantasy) becomes Prime Minister of Britain. She's fed up with the state of politics. Her view that "the people" need to get closer to politics, be part of the scene, resonates with other women and the British public in general to such an extent that the supermarket magnate (her boss) donates 10 million pounds to the cause, and Ros Pritchard runs as leader of The Purple Alliance. Many other women, all over Britain join the Alliance to run "on her platform". She acquires, through good luck, good diplomacy, or reasons to be revealed later in the series, the services of some politically experienced women, defectors from both sides of the political divide. This brings a necessary feel of feasibility to the story's fantasmagorical premise.

Performances from every member of the cast are outstanding, dialogue and characterisation, believable. Appearing with Jane Horrocks as her able assistants and cabinet members, and sharing the applause are Janet McTeer, Geraldine James and Jodhi May.

Jane Horrocks (born 18 January 1964, Rawtenstall, UK) plays Ros Pritchard. Actress Jane Horrocks is one of those Saturn hybrids I wrote about on Saturday. Sun in Capricorn, with Mars and Saturn in Aquarius. The reason these four women blend so naturally into the storyline, perhaps owes something to their astrology as well as their undoubted acting ability. Horrocks' character, Mrs. Pritchard, is the driving force of the plot, and Jane has the astrological makeup to be able to live that story - the combination of Cap/Aqua common sense humanitarianism.

Janet McTeer (8 May 1961, Newcastle on Tyne, UK )plays Catherine Walker - Chancellor of the Exchequer &Deputy Prime Minister. She's a defector from the Tory (Conservative, right wing) party and her tradition and establishment loving Taurus Sun fits the role well.

Geraldine James (6 July 1950, London) = Hilary Rees-Benson, Home Secretary.
Geraldine James, a sensitive, empathetic Cancer Sun defects from "the other side", the more left-leaning Liberal Democrats.

Jodhi May (May 1975).- Miranda Lennox =Press Secretary. I was unable to find Jodhi May's full date of birth, but a brief article about her states that she is a very private person, she has no TV at home, and does not do the celebrity social circuit - which leads me to suspect her May Sun would be in Taurus rather than Gemini.

The four women's natal Suns blend together quite well, in real life, being all in Earth or Water signs.

Here's author Sally Wainwright, I could find no birth data at all for her. Full marks to the author, and of course, the casting crew for a very entertaining show, in line with current events both earthly and celestial!

The series left more than one loose end, perhaps a sequel will follow.


Katy said...

Hi-- I just thought I would share that the BBC has no intention of continuing this series. I suspect that is why the USA broadcast included end placards providing details about how things turned out for certain characters, for example, what Ros decides to do about her predicament. The series did not have the viewing numbers to merit a series two, I guess. I thoroughly enjoyed it though, especially Jodhi May's performance and Janet McTeer's.

I am also curious how you read the current US American political climate and powerful women (woman). How do you think H. Clinton might fit into this feminine celestial movement you mention?

Thanks, and well wishes.

Anonymous said...

I must look out for a re-run of this. I missed it first time around and I'm a fan of Jane Horrocks.

Twilight said...

Hello K-aty

Oh - I missed the BBC's end placards - Dang! I bought the DVDs having missed all but the pilot on TV.

I'll look around the net to see whether the details contained in the placards have been included anywhere. Thanks for the information.

Re: Ms Clinton, I think we have to class her as one of the avant garde. Margaret Thatcher had a similar role in the UK. It was bound to happen, a natural progression - whether celestial bodies have anything to do with it is uncertain in my own mind.

The $64,000 question is "are they the right women for the jobs". I think it doesn't necessarily follow that, because they break that glass ceiling, they are automatically the best ones for the jobs on offer. :-)

Hello RJ - I think you'd enjoy it -DVDs may be available to rent soon , in case there's no re-run.

Katy said...

Hi, Twilight,

I might have it screwed up-- the dvds might include the placards at the end. I can't remember now. But I do believe the wikipedia entry for Mrs. Pritchard includes the information on the placards. For convenience, here is the link: -- it's the note that appears in the episode 6 synopsis. The same thing appeared in the US American version.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention this fansite: -- there is a thread (or two) about "AMP" in The Telly section. There is some discussion about these things there.

And, I agree-- is H Clinton the right woman for the job? Just because certain women break this ceiling doesn't mean they are the right person for the job-- well said, Twilight! It is of some interest, I think, that this-- H. Clinton's bid for the White House-- comes up at a time when the stars are saying women will be taking on more powerful roles in the world. That is the point I was trying to make earlier.

Well wishes.

Twilight said...

Thank you K-aty.

Hmmm - happy(ish) endings all round then! I hope The Purple Alliance didn't veer sharply right from then on though. ;-)

Thanks for the other link too.

Yes, I think many astrologers do see it as you describe, women coming into their own as clestial bodies are discovered and appropriately named to fit - "as above so below". I'm not completely convinced about this though, in spite of my belief that "something is going on" with regard to astrology in general.

I prefer to think of women coming into power as simply a natural progression, nothing to do with the stars....apart from each woman's individual stars, of course. But that's just my own view....I can be a bit obtuse in some areas, especially re newly discovered asteroids, centaurs etc.