The Alan Clark Diaries - Episode Guide
Compiled by Emma Shane
© May 2005
Episode 1: March Of The Grey Men
Louise Gold isn’t in this one. Mrs Thatcher is only seen in old news footage
Episode 2: The Lady
Louise Gold portrays Mrs Thatcher twice; on both occasions she is shown only as a back view. On both occasions, if you know Louise, I think there may have been one or two small mannerisms (such as the way she moves her arm) that were very much Louise, but that could be reading too much into it, because I knew she was playing the part.
Louise’s first scene is presumably meant to be the first time that Alan Clark has actually been in the same room (other than in The House Of Commons) as his Prime Minister. While he is going on about how she projects power etc, she walks past and takes a seat, he talks while the camera shows the back of her head while she is talking to someone else. Then just at the end there is a moment where she leans over and says distinctly something like “No more” or “That is all”. If you are paying attention at this point, the accent, while one of a powerful woman, does not sound all that much like Margaret Thatcher (in fact to those of us familiar with the actress playing her in this production it sounds rather more like the actress herself, or possibly Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid in Chichester’s production of Jason Carr’s musical of The Water Babies).
The second clip is the last scene in the episode. Alan has been summoned to No 10 to be offered an important job. Again we only see Louise in a back view, and she is seated. Much of the time Alan is narrating voice-over, but sometimes we do get Mrs Thatcher talking to him. This time Louise was much closer with the accent. She certainly managed not to use an accent that could be recognisably her own. In fact she did manage to make a pretty darn good stab at mimicking Mrs Thatcher.
Episode 3: Foreign Parts
Louise Gold portrays Mrs Thatcher twice, on both occasions she is again shown only as a back view. This time, she hid her mannerisms so well that, even knowing was in the series, I for one wouldn’t have recognised her (except that of course I knew what part she was actually playing).
In the first one Alan Clark has been summoned to see the Prime Minister, because she wishes to tell him he is not to put forward his anti fur bill. He should go to Canada first. Louise did such a good job with the accent, that one would never have known who the actress was doing it. Also she didn’t make any giveaway mannerisms.
The second clip is when The Prime Minister rings Clark to tell him the position she’s got him in her latest reshuffle, in The Ministry Of Defence. We see her twice on the phone to him (they cut between her and him). He puts up a poor fight about not wanting to accept the post; and weakens when she tells him she went out on a limb to get it for him, because she knew he wanted it. This time Louise didn’t make much in the way of give-away mannerisms, the way she leans forward is recognisably her, but only if you know her performances well. On this occasion her voice is on the whole really convincing, and by and large one wouldn’t know it was her, for she’s done such a good job with the accent. There is just one little tiny moment, when she’s telling him she went out on a limb to get the job for him, because she knew he wanted it, that she sounds passingly like Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby in Chichester’s production of Jason Carr’s musical of The Water Babies, but it is only a very brief moment and only very minorly off-accent at that, so you’d only notice it if you were paying really really close attention to her (which most people probably aren’t). She’s made a really good job of mimicking Mrs Thatcher, if you didn’t know, you’d never guess who the actress is.
Episode 4: Defence Of The Realm
Louise Gold portrays Mrs Thatcher twice. As usual on both occasions shown mainly as back, and the very occasional side view. Louise made a pretty good job of the accent, if she wasn’t always quite Mrs Thatcher, in other words if she went very slightly off accent at least she didn’t give away any of her own traits, so one would never have known who the actress was doing it.
The first scene was a meeting at Chequers, in which Alan Clark promised her he would write a report on defence spending. He interrupts her when she is summing up (such a thing is never done. Besides speaking to Alan Clark, and summing up, while dealing with his interruption she is also taking a pair of glasses off and putting them in her handbag (the glasses are in her right hand, and hand bag on the table in front of her in her left hand. At the end of this she gets up and exits to the left. She does not give away any traits. I am not sure if she was always quite on accent, but if she wanders off accent it is very minor, and she never put any voice that could identify the actress.
The second scene is in a courtyard, possibly in the houses of parliament or the MOD. She is in a meeting with a group of officials (ministers/civil servants, that Alan Clark and others are observing from a slight distance, remarking that she doesn’t know the danger she’s in (he means danger to her political career - some factions of the party, such as Michael Hesaltine are clearly plotting against the Prime Minister). We don’t hear much of her voice, but what little there is seems to be on accent. This is one of the few scenes where she is standing up. She seems quite tall with those men (and she’s wearing heels) - I wonder how tall Mrs Thatcher really is? Some of her mannerisms though, especially the way she moves her head (Jerks it in a manner that some of Louise’s own Muppet characters copied) is a bit recognisably Louise, especially to those of us who know her performances well. To some extent the way she walked at the beginning of the scene was also a bit of Louise (but only if you know her). On the whole a pretty good piece of acting, though.
Episode 5: Into The Wilderness
Louise Gold isn’t in this one; Mrs Thatcher is only seen very very briefly in old news footage.
One scene, I found interesting, though, showed Alan Clark playing the piano, the tune he was playing appeared to be Irving Berlin’s Yiddisha Nightingale.
Episode 6: Leaving Home
Louise Gold isn’t in this one; in fact Mrs Thatcher never seems to get mentioned at all.