“Party Animals” (2)

“The West Wing” it ain’t, but BBC2′ s series “Party Animals”, looks authentic and entertaining enough to keep a political junkie like me tuning in each Wednesday night. This evening saw the screening of episode 1 which was good enough to wet my appetite.
The series is all about the activities of House of Commons political researchers in their 20s, something with which I can really identify since I worked as a researcher to a member of the Labour Party’s Opposition Front Bench from 1972-1974. The only aspect of the show that I found really wrong was the Junior Home Office Minister having a new Government policy worked up by her Commons researcher.
After working in Parliament, I did spells as a Special Adviser in the Northern Ireland Office (1974-76) and the Home Office (1976-78) and I can tell you that a party researcher would not be able to develop a Government policy or draft a Ministerial speech. That would be a matter for the Department’s civil servants possibly assisted by the Secretary of State’s Special Advisers.


  • Richard Leyton

    Sort of stumbled on it, gave it 15 minutes, and just felt a bit too jaded at the whole premise, much less a set of characters I didn’t really find – in my brief foray – that I cared particularly much for.
    I suppose I find I’m getting increasingly selective these days about what I watch. I have enough else on the PVR, or movies/series I have on DVD I do want to watch (Just watching series 2 of the West Wing for the first time) that a new programme needs to have something really going for it.
    I suppose it all started with series 3 of 24. I just realised that I was about to invest almost a *day* of my life if I watched it, and realised I really didn’t care enough about Jack, much less his daughter, to spend that much time on it. Lost came close too, but intrigued me enough. At least until it went to Sky.
    So for my British political drama/humour, I think I’ll stick to re-runs of Yes, (Prime) Minister for now. Oh, and perhaps The Thick of It.

  • Roger Darlington

    Richard, I’ve watched every – and I mean every – episode of “The West Wing” which I think is a wonderful series. “Yes Minister” and “The Thick Of It” are fun but of course deeply satirical. We need something on ‘real’ politics in Britain in a format that can engage young viewers and maybe “Party Animals” will manage this.

  • Richard Darlington

    While we’re on the topic of pedantic accuracy… Isn’t it “whet” rather than “wet” your appetite? Part of the success of a show like this will be the extent to which political animals like you find (and indeed blog about) the continuity errors. As Oscar Wilde would say… “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Had he have been born a hundred years later, he would have made a great TV producer.

  • Mavis

    I just do not believe that you could possibly think any television or indeed for that matter film producer, would let a fact get in the way of a good story.
    Apart from that I found the 1st episode a bit childish, but shall watch and see if it improves.