ANDREW PIERCE: Maggie to a T? it's magnificent Meryl, not Gillian

ANDREW PIERCE: Maggie to a T? it’s magnificent Meryl, not Gillian

Producers of The Crown are under pressure to include disclaimers about accuracy, and there is now a backlash over the way Margaret Thatcher is portrayed in the series.

Gillian Anderson plays Britain’s first woman PM with an exaggerated stoop, a face etched with fatigue and a tired basso profundo voice. She also looks 20 years older than the Queen played by Olivia Coleman.

In fact, the Mrs T of the early 1980s was energetic, passionate, bursting with ideas, had far less mannered speech — and the age gap between her and the Queen was only six months.

Producers of The Crown are under pressure to include disclaimers about accuracy, and there is now a backlash over the way Margaret Thatcher is portrayed in the series

The producers should have spoken to Lord Powell, one of Mrs T’s longest-serving advisers and the last of her friends to see her alive. Lord Powell told me he was consulted by Meryl Streep who played Mrs T in the 2011 film The Iron Lady.

‘I spent three or four hours with Meryl Streep over a very long breakfast. She asked a lot of very intelligent questions and was determined to get her portrayal right. She was incredibly attentive to detail. I never saw the film but my wife Carla saw it and said her portrayal of Mrs T was just right.’

Streep went on to win the Oscar. Gillian Anderson is heading for a wooden spoon.

Tory MP Will Quince, a junior welfare minister, boasts, with some justification: ‘I’ve just hit five stone lost this year … I feel fitter, healthier, have more energy and am sleeping better.’ How did he do it? Smaller portions and healthier choices, so no more bread, cheese or chocolate.  

Gordon’s the expert! 

Gordon Brown was on BBC TV criticising ‘factional fighting’ at Downing Street under Boris Johnson. He’s well qualified to pass judgment: he waged constant warfare against Tony Blair during Blair’s ten-year premiership.

Gordon Brown was on BBC TV criticising ‘factional fighting’ at Downing Street under Boris Johnson

PARTY BIGWIG QUITS OVER CORBYN 

Respected economist Lord Desai has quit Labour after 49 years, in protest at the readmission of Jeremy Corbyn to the Party.

Corbyn was booted out because of his unapologetic response to the devastating report on anti-semitism in the Labour Party by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

Lord Desai, who for six years was chairman of Labour, said: ‘It was a very peculiar decision to allow him back without any apology. He has been refused the party whip in the House of Commons for a few months, but that is a very lame response to a very big crisis.’

He added: ‘I have been slightly ashamed. Jewish MPs were abused openly, and female members were trolled. It is out- and-out racism.’

Corbyn does not seem to be prepared to wait to have the party whip restored. His website in his constituency proudly proclaims: ‘Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North.’

Former minister Esther McVey tweets: ‘As trains travel close to empty up and down the country, the Treasury is believed to be anxious about the costs of running largely empty trains and are calling for cuts … I’ve a cut for them … Cut HS2’

Former minister Esther McVey tweets: ‘As trains travel close to empty up and down the country, the Treasury is believed to be anxious about the costs of running largely empty trains and are calling for cuts … I’ve a cut for them … Cut HS2.’

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle rebuked Tory health minister Jo Churchill for branding boisterous Labour MPs as ‘children’ during a statement on coronavirus. ‘Order in the chamber is my responsibility,’ said Hoyle. ‘Sorry, Mr Speaker,’ she said. ‘It is that old habit of being a mother of four.’

His departure from Downing Street is expected to deal a severe blow to sales of Dominic Cummings novelty underpants — the bottom has dropped out of the market. 

His departure from Downing Street is expected to deal a severe blow to sales of Dominic Cummings novelty underpants — the bottom has dropped out of the market

The Twisted Twee website launched his-and-hers Cummings pants earlier this year, the latest in a range which already includes Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Jacob Rees-Mogg and a Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott twin set. 

Now owner Suzi Warren has slashed prices — from £20 to £10 . ‘They did very well at the peak of lockdown,’ she says. ‘I was hoping I might be able to stretch him to become the world’s worst Secret Santa gift, but the callous brute appears to be scarpering before I can fully exploit him.’

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