Creator: Alastair Campbell
"Fuck off and cover something important you twats!"
—Email sent to BBC journalists by Campbell in 2005
"Final sentence of earlier email probably a bit colourful and personal considering we have never actually met but I'm sure you share the same sense of humour as your star presenter Mr P[axman]."
Best known to some as the inspiration for Malcolm Tucker
, but to everyone else as Tony Blair
's official spin doctor, Alastair Campbell is a former political journalist who switched sides in 1994 to help New Labour deal with the press. Over the next nine years he entrenched his already fearsome reputation as a Manipulative Bastard
- thanks in no small part to resentful journos, not to mention comedians who played his aggressive persona for laughs.
(For more context see British Political System
In 2003 he resigned from government and has since spread himself between the lecture circuit, publishing his diaries, charity fundraising, and writing novels. He did return to fight for the Labour Party in the 2005 and 2010 general elections, but unlike his long-time colleague and frenemy Peter Mandelson
, has yet to commit to a full time political comeback. Like Mandelson, he carries a lot of toxic baggage; he is inseparable in the minds of many from the 2003 Iraq War and subsequent suicide of weapons inspector David Kelly.
He's also a football nut,
alleged Scot, former softporn writer (under the pen name
'The Riviera Gigolo'), suspected former sex worker, Francophone, Germanophone, triathlete, and bagpipe player. He's shared a pitch with Diego Maradona. But he never talks about it.
Books by Alastair Campbell:
- The Blair Years (2008)
- Diaries Volume One: Prelude to Power 1994–1997 (2010)
- Diaries Volume Two: Power and the People 1997–1999 (2011)
- Diaries Volume Three: Power and Responsibility 1999–2001 (2012)
- The Happy Depressive: In Pursuit of Personal and Political Happiness (2012)
Alastair Campbell's fiction provides examples of:
Depictions of Alastair Campbell in fiction:
- On topical sketch show Bremner, Bird and Fortune, Campbell was portrayed by Andrew Dunn (whom he described at the time as a 'fat bastard'). Recurring sketches showed him interacting with (read 'bullying') Bremner's weak and hesitant Blair.
- In 2005, Campbell was played by Jonathan Cake in the Channel 4 television film The Government Inspector, a dramatisation of the David Kelly case.
- In 2006 he was depicted by Mark Bazeley in the critically acclaimed The Queen, about the death of Princess Diana and how royals/politicians dealt with the fallout.
- 2007 saw the premiere of TONY! The Blair Musical, a comedy musical about Tony Blair's career. Campbell - portrayed, as is so often the case, as an amoral bastard - has a few numbers. His departure is depicted as the moment things start to fall apart for Tony.
- ... Aaand he appears in another 2007 musical on the same subject, imaginatively called Tony Blair - The Musical.
- Mark Bazeley also played Campbell in the 2010 follow-up to The Queen: The Special Relationship, about Tony Blair's relationship with US President Bill Clinton.
- In 2011, The Hunt For Tony Blair - a one-off episode of The Comic Strip Presents, depicting Blair as a fugitive in a Film Noir parody - featured Harry Enfield as Campbell.
- Also in 2011, BBC Radio 4 broadcast four short monologues, each from the perspective of a different real-life Downing Street cat, called Political Animals. Campbell is an antagonist in the second episode, Humphrey.
- Not a straight depiction, but it's widely agreed that Campbell was a key inspiration behind foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker on The Thick of It. Campbell himself claimed to enjoy the series, although he was an outspoken critic of The Movie version In the Loop.