The Politician’s Husband: BBC Two political drama starring David Tennant

by SteveRogerson

David Tennant and Emily Watson star in The Politician's Husband, a three-part drama due to start on BBC Two on Thursday 25 April 2013.

Some 18 years after Paula Milne penned the award winning The Politician's Wife, she is back with a companion piece The Politician's Husband, starring David Tennant of Doctor Who fame and Emily Watson as a married couple, both MPs whose fortunes suddenly change. This preview by Steve Rogerson looks at the careers of the two main actors and the original The Politician's Wife.

David Tennant and Emily Warson in The Politician's Husband
David Tennant and Emily Warson in The Politician's Husband
Photo: BBC/DayBreak Pictures/Ed Miller

All seems to be going well for senior cabinet minister Aiden Hoynes (played by David Tennant) and his wife, junior minister Freya Gardner (played by Emily Watson), until Aidan decides to resign from the cabinet in protest at one of the prime minister’s policies, but suddenly discovers that he does not backing he thought and finds himself a backbencher. Freya, meanwhile, is promoted to the cabinet. This sudden change in fortunes puts strain on what they thought was a happy marriage.

This is the basis for The Politician’s Husband, a three-part drama due to start on BBC Two on Thursday 25 April 2013. It was written by Paula Milne, who was responsible for the award-winning The Politician’s Wife in 1995.

“It is said that all power corrupts but the power balance within a marriage can be unspoken and subtle whereas the power games in politics are more overt and manipulatory,” said Milne. “The drama explores the personal realm of a political marriage played against the ruthless hubris of Westminster politics, and what can happen when those two realms collide.”


Actors in The Politician’s Husband

David Tennant is best known for his Bafta winning performance as the tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, which also led to an appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Other notable roles have included Simon ‘Darwin’ Brown in Duck Patrol, Greig Miller in Terri McIntyre, DI Peter Carlisle in Blackpool, Casanova in the 2005 Casanova mini-series, Dave in Single Father, Jean-Francois Mercier in Spies of Warsaw and DI Alec Hardy in Broadchurch. He also played Bartemius ‘Barty’ Crouch Junior in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire.

Emily Watson has had two best actress Oscar nominations, for playing Bess McNeill in 1996’s Breaking the Waves and Jackie Du Pré in 1998’s Hilary and Jackie. She won a best leading actress Bafta award for playing Janet Leach in Appropriate Adult and three Bafta nominations, two of them for Breaking the Waves and Hilary and Jackie and the other for playing Angela McCourt in 1999’s Angela’s Ashes. Four Golden Globe nominations include Appropriate Adult, Hilary and Jackie and Breaking the Waves. The other was for playing Anne Sellers in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

Lucy Hutchinson plays Aiden and Freya’s daughter Lucy and Oscar Kennedy their son Noah, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Ed Stoppard plays Aiden’s friend and fellow MP Bruce Babbish. The show also includes Jack Shepherd as Aiden's father Joe and Roger Allam as chief whip Marcus Fitzwallace.


Team behind The Politician’s Husband

The Politician's Husband, written by Paula Milne and directed by Simon Cellan-Jones, is a companion piece to the award-winning The Politician's Wife from 1995.

The Politician's Husband was commissioned by Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC Two, and Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, and is a Daybreak Pictures production. The executive producers for Daybreak were David Aukin and Paula Milne. The director was Simon Cellan Jones and the producer Hal Vogel. The executive producer for the BBC was Lucy Richer.


The Politician’s Wife

The Politician’s Wife was first broadcast on Channel Four in 1995 and starred Trevor Eve and Juliet Stephenson. The show won a Bafta for best serial drama and an Emmy for best international drama, both in 1995. The programme also received three Bafta nominations – Juliet Stevenson as best actress, Alan Jones for best editing and Tom McDougal for best photography and lighting. Paula Milne won a Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Award for writing it and Juliet Stevenson a best actress award from the Broadcasting Press Guild.

Updated: 04/24/2013, SteveRogerson
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DerdriuMarriner on 01/28/2022

SteveRogerson, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
How does David Tennant's character end up as a backbencher? Does a cabinet member who resigns automatically become a member of Parliament or must elections be held?

The film Darkest Hour kind of gives that impression with Neville Chamberlain resigning as prime minister but then occupying a seat albeit front-row, not back-row, in Parliament with Winston Churchill's prime ministership.

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