Margaret Thatcher In Fiction
Over the years I've got very used to being asked in interviews about Why Sandman Wasn't Political
. Normally journalists would point out how very filled with politics all the other British writers of the school of eighty-something were, and that Sandman wasn't. And why is that? And I would hesitantly suggest that I thought that Sandman might have been a bit more political than they thought, and they would say no, it definitely wasn't; where was Margaret Thatcher, after all, and why hadn't I shown her eating babies with her vampire teeth
British Prime Minister (and the only woman to hold that position) for 11 years, Margaret Thatcher
remains the most divisive figure in recent British political history. Her administration featured controversial economic policies, high unemployment, the Miners' Strike, The Falklands War
, a significant disembowelment of the Trade Union movement, the sidelining of Britain's heavy industry sector, and privatisation of public assets. As you can imagine, she's very
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Anime and Manga
- The Axis Powers Hetalia doujinshii From the New Earth, with Love has a young and Moe-looking Thatcher as one of the caretakers of England, who survived his Duel to the Death with America parallel to World War II... only to fall in a coma due to his almost fatal injuries. She chats with America over some soft ice cream, and he asks her to step forward into politics; some pages later, her older self is featured as Prime Minister in The Eighties. As she becomes a full-fledged leader, England finally recovers from his coma.
- French comic Cupidon had Cupido unsuccessfully try to soften Margaret Thatcher for discussions, but all of his arrows just bounced off her. Ultimately, he shot her through one ear while a colleague of his held the other shut. The arrow stayed in this time and gave unexpected results: instead of ignoring her opponents, she flipped them off. By Cupido's own admission, "better than nothing."
- Yuppie demons celebrate her reelection in an early issue of Hellblazer written by Jamie Delano, which also featured Dave McKean's painting of a vampire-fanged Thatcher on the cover.
- England's political climate both during and post-Thatcher are heavy themes in Hellblazer. Many of the threats John Constantine has faced are, while not directly caused by Thatcher, certainly helped out by her politics. The rampant unemployment and economic depression during her tenure led to despair amongst the lower classes, prime breeding ground for evils that go bump in the night, for example.
- The Planetary issue "To Be in England, in the Summertime", in which the team flies to London for the funeral of a John Constantine Expy, is a reflection on Thatcher's Britain and the fiction it produced. Jakita has...less than warm feelings towards Thatcher, which are obviously an echo of Warren Ellis; one of the points of the issue is the political climate that gave rise to a lot of the early Vertigo Comics.
- The issue also features a flashback to the John Constantine Expy thwarting her attempt to murder the pregnant mother of a possible Second Coming of Christ by trapping her Invisible to Normals agent in an invisible box. Thatcher wasn't even doing it because she was in league with Satan or something; just because the Second Coming would be politically inconvenient for her.
- Alan Moore wrote V for Vendetta primarily as a rebuttal to Thatcher's more divisive policies.
- And yet she appears in Miracleman in a much more sympathetic light, as another small human, arguing for the free market against a godlike superhuman.
- A caricatured Mrs. Thatcher appears as a fearsome Cirinist leader in Cerebus the Aardvark. Later on Cerebus gets the better of her, in an issue that appeared just around the time the real Margaret Thatcher was coming to the end of her term in office.
- Many 2000 AD comics from The Eighties feature expies of her:
- Judge Dredd:
- One story leads to the following exchange when the title character chases after Count Dracula, who takes refuge inside a Hall of Horrors tourist museum.
You! Close the Hall! Get everyone out! Dracula's in there! Employee:
'Course he is! So's Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Margaret Thatcher
- There was also Chief Justice Hilda Margaret McGruder, who succeeded Chief Justice Griffin. After a very successful first term she made an error in judgment and went on the Long Walk, only to later have to take back her post after years of isolation and radiation exposure rapidly becoming clearly insane. Amongst many, many references she develops a Split Personality, and refers to her various selves as "we", parodying Thatcher's infamous "We are a grandmother" comment. Also of note were McGruder's more masculine physical features after her time spent in the Cursed Earth (including a beard), which would reflect Thatcher's masculine composure.
- In Invasion!, where Britain is over-run by a foreign army which is suspiciously like the Russsians, in an early episode a prime minister looking suspiciously like Margaret thatcher is seen hanged by the uivaders.
- Bec & Kawl once featured a story where Margaret Thatcher (unnamed in the strip, but the obvious caricature tells all) plotted to privatize Hell. Kawl refers to her as "The Arch-Manifestation of Evil".
- Michael Moorcock's Multiverse portrays her as "Mrs Ratchet", an old woman who is scared to death by the mysterious "silverskin" in this particular usage the name refers to Count Zodiac, despite earler assurances that he has never harmed a woman.
- In Garth Ennis' The Boys, her era takes place during Billy Butcher's formative years; he fought in the Falklands War and afterwards was a working schlub while her economic policies were in effect - and after Butcher's wife dies from bearing a fetus begat by being raped by a rogue superhuman, her administration is all but stated to be an ally of the Big Bad Mega Corp., Vought-American.
- Meryl Streep plays her in the 2011 Biopic The Iron Lady, for which she won an Academy Award.
- Margaret Thatcher appears (played by an impersonator) in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
- Mentioned in less than glowing terms in Brassed Off, considering it was her fault that the colliery was being shut down.
- Austin Powers thinks of her to avoid becoming aroused in International Man of Mystery.
Austin: "Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day! Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!"
- Her Iron Lady image is Played for Laughs in the comedy Water (1985). Sir Malcolm Leveridge is having to explain to the PM how he let an American company get the sole rights to Cascara's mineral water. Thatcher is opening her mail at the time.
Sir Malcolm: And we do regret the somewhat disappointing revenue.
Thatcher: How much?
Sir Malcolm: Err...one cent per every hundred barrels— (flung letter opener drills into the wall next to his head)
- Faith Brook played a female British Prime Minister in North Sea Hijack, which came out in 1980. It was obviously prompted by real life circumstances.
- Caricatured in the picture book The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman by Raymond Briggs.
- The early Adrian Mole books were set during Thatcher's regime and thus featured many jabs at her policies. Adrian's diagram of personal relationships at the start of the second book lists her under "Enemies". This went Up to Eleven in True Confessions of Adrian Mole with a section called "The Secret Diary Of Margaret Hilda Roberts" (Roberts being Mrs. Thatcher's maiden name) which portrayed the titular teenager as an insufferable overachiever with a heavy disdain for the working class and delusions of royalty (going so far as writing letters to royals claiming to be the result of an hypothetical extramarital union, much of which was not dissimilar to the public perception of Thatcher at the time). (This was originally published in the newspaper Today.)
- As the main Harry Potter page says, both Aunt Marge in Book 3 and Dolores Umbridge are thinly veiled takes on Margaret Thatcher, whom J. K. Rowling had a dislike for.
- Although given her censorious attitude, Dolores Umbridge must also be partly based on Mary Whitehouse.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, has a conversation with the Prime Minister. He briefly mentions that the previous PM tried to toss him out a window. The timeline says that the PM he's currently talking to was John Major, so...
- Gets a particularly nasty treatment in The Satanic Verses, in which patrons of the Hot Wax Club melt giant wax effigies of unpopular politicians, including "Maggie the Bitch".
- Kim Newman's Diogenes Club story "You Don't Have To Be Mad..." features a Bedlam House being run as a training ground that turns people into high-functioning sociopaths, the Big Bad believing that madness will be a way of life in The Eighties, and his patients will be the leaders. The star graduate of the system is a woman known as "Mrs Empty", a play on her initials.
- All of the "patients" are notorious figures of the 1980s, identifiable by plays on their initials. Captain Naughty, for instance, is Thatcher's subordinate Norman Tebbit.
- Kim Newman's Temps story "Pitbull Brittan" parodies the Thatcher government's handling of the Miners' Strike by depicting it as a battle against a sinister international conspiracy of the type seen in xenophobic pulp adventure stories like Bulldog Drummond. Margaret Thatcher makes several appearances in the story, and something unpleasant happens to her at the end.
- Several 1990s and 2000s Michael Moorcock works refer in backstory to an evil female Lord of Order named Miggea, who imposed oppressive uniformity on many parts of the Multiverse. In the 1990s Jerry Cornelius stories, the elderly, senile and ennobled Miss Brunner became a blatant caricature of Thatcher after her retirement.
Live Action Television
- Monty Python got in on the act long before she was even PM, with a spectacular Take That in the sketch "How to Identify Different Parts of the Body"
[Image shows a shin] Cleese: Number Twenty-three: the shin.
[Image shows Reginald Maudling, with an arrow pointing to his shin] Cleese: Number Twenty-four: Reginald Maudling's shin.
[Image shows a brain] Cleese: Number Twenty-five: the brain.
[Image shows Margaret Thatcher] Cleese: Number Twenty-six: Margaret Thatcher's brain. [An arrow points to her shin. Cue tremendous audience applause.]
- She appears regularly (and highly derisively) in the British puppet satire series Spitting Image. The classic example from here involves her ordering a raw steak at a dinner with her Cabinet:
Waiter: What about the vegetables?
Thatcher: Oh, they'll have the same as me.
- Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher come in for some ribbing in Coupling.
Patrick: You know what? We need Maggie back!
- During Sylvester McCoy's tenure on Doctor Who, the writers loathed Thatcher and this showed in their scripts. Most blatant was Helen A. in "The Happiness Patrol", an unsubtle Thatcher satire.
- She wrote a sketch herself for Yes, Minister, which she appeared in with the cast.
- In a world in Sliders, an Alternate History Thatcher became The Quisling after Kromags (basically evolved Neandarthals) invaded. After they were successfully repelled, the word "Thatcher" remained synonymous with "selling out your kind"/"collaborating with the enemy". Sliders does have the habit of hitting the British at every chance it makes/gets.
- Season 3's third episode of Ashes to Ashes depicts the 1983 election, complete with clips of Thatcher and bomb threats against her — after which Alex assures everyone the IRA isn't behind this bombing, since their only attempt failed. The characters also discuss Tory vs. Labour, The Falklands War, and Gene dubs Thatcher "the great handbag". This is rather ironic considering that, in Life On Mars, Gene famously commented "there will never be a woman Prime Minister as long as I have a hole in my arse."
- Maid Marian and Her Merry Men had a house repairer character called 'Margaret The Thatcher'.
- In the opening montage of the Blackadder special Blackadder Back and Forth, a doctored stock photo shows Thatcher holding her arms aloft in a triumphant pose while an incarnation of Edmund Blackadder reacts to the stink from her armpits.
- On Parks and Recreation, Leslie has this to say about her mother Marlene: "She's a big mucky-muck in the county school system. She's my hero. How do I explain her? She's as respected as Mother Teresa, she's as powerful as Stalin and she's as beautiful as Margaret Thatcher." In a later episode, we learn that Marlene is nicknamed "The Iron <long bleep> of Pawnee".
- A sketch on The Lenny Henry Show parodying Doctor Who had Lenny Henry as the Doctor confronting the big-haired alien dictator Thatchos (and her ineffectual underling Denos).
- The main character in BBC mini-series The Line of Beauty, set in the early to mid-1980s, takes a turn with her.
- Thatcher still manages to make political satire shows. As summed up with this quote from Mock the Week's Frankie Boyle upon being told the projected cost of Thatcher's funeral is £3 million.
Frankie: For £3 million we could give everyone in Scotland a shovel, and we would dig a hole so deep we could hand her over to Satan personally.
- Insulted, mocked and reviled in every single episode of The Young Ones.
Rick: Thatcher's Britain! Thatcher's bloody Britain!!
- The first two series of The New Statesman coincided with her final term as PM, so she was at least mentioned in almost every episode. She also was The Ghost in three episodes, with the plots generally revolving around the main character, a Villain Protagonist who was a Straw Character of Tory MPs taken Up to Eleven, trying to regain her favor after doing something particularly stupid.
- The Goodies: During their time as Scouts, Bill and Graeme are awarded their "Initiative Badge" for...
Tim: "Stealing a pair of Margaret Thatcher's bloomers?!"
- More to the trope is the episode "Politics" with Tim running for Prime Minister as a crossdressing 'Maggie' whose election platform includes "on the glorious twelfth each year, the nice people will be allowed to hold a workers cull (with Bill shown being clubbed like a seal pup as he lays around doing nothing), invoking the death penalty for "people who walk behind the bowlers arm at Lords" (as Bill detonates in a huge explosion for doing just that), abolishing the National Health Service so that "people will be encouraged to save doctors' time and money by treating themselves" (with Bill shown sawing his leg off, stuffing it into a bin and then promptly fainting at the sight of the grisly aftermath!) and treating union officials as "naughty schoolboys" that deserve a good spanking. In the end England gets the real Margaret Thatcher as a booby prize.
- Following Thatcher's death, Saturday Night Live paid tribute of sorts with a Mockumentary bit about Ian Rubbish, a perfectly stereotypical British punk rocker whose songs trashed everything that was wrong with late 1970s-early 1980s Britain except for one thing...he absolutely loved Margaret Thatcher. It's recounted how Ian, much to the bewilderment of his own bandmates, wrote songs praising Thatcher, even as his other songs attacked the police, the Queen, and the monarchy in general. The reason why Ian didn't trash Margaret Thatcher: she reminded him of his mother and Thatcher found solace in his music when she was kicked out of office. See it here.
- In A Bit of Fry and Laurie sketch, Stephen Fry reads a Strongly Worded Letter about how they criticize everything but never offer an alternative:
Stephen: "It's oh so simple, for instance, to knock Mrs Thatcher, isn't it? But what are you suggesting should go in the place of the institutions and people you so viciously decry?" Well of course he's absolutely right. It's ludicrously easy to knock Mrs. Thatcher, isn't it? It's the simplest, easiest and most obvious thing in the world to remark that she's a shameful, putrid scab, an embarrassing, ludicrous monstrosity that makes one frankly ashamed to be British and that her ideas and standards are a stain on our national history. That's easy, anyone can see that. Nothing difficult about that. But after tonight, no one can accuse us of failing to come up with something to take her place. Hugh.
(Hugh holds up a coat hanger.)
- During Britain's Mad Cow Disease scare, Australian skit show Full Frontal parodied a contemporary lamb ad with a skit portraying a butcher selling British beef. After the customer fails to grasp this via a Union Jack and a picture of the Queen, the shopkeeper puts a picture of Margaret Thatcher on it, and he gets the "mad cow" message.
- The Comic Strip Presents produced GLC which was supposed to be how a Hollywood film might portray the fall of the Greater London Council. Jennifer Saunders played Brigitte Nielsen playing Margaret Thatcher as a murderous cyborg.
- House of Cards does not actually show Thatcher, but its triggering event is her decision to retire. By a remarkable coincidence, the first episode aired a mere four days before she was actually forced to resign (the episode aired 18 November 1990; she was forced to announce her resignation 22 November, and left office six days later).
- Private Eye's prime ministerial parody was The Dear Bill Letters, in which Thatcher's husband Denis (presented, not entirely inaccurately, as something of a drinker) wrote letters on topical subjects to ancient Telegraph correspondent Bill Deedes.
- This led to a stage play and (separately) to a ZX Spectrum text adventure game, Denis Through the Drinking Glass.
- They also had at least two comic strips in which she featured: Battle for Britain, where "Herr Thachler" was a Rommel caricature commanding the Tories as stand-ins for the Nazi Afrika Corps in the North African Front of World War II (while Labour were the British Desert Rats), and Dan Dire: Pilot of the Future?, a Dan Dare parody with Neil Kinnock as the title character and Thatcher as 'the Maggon', standing in for Dare's enemy the Mekon.
- Frequently criticized by the 2 Tone Ska revival. Jerry Dammers of The Specials wrote the band's last hit Ghost Town as an attack on her economic policies and Dave Wakeling of The Beat (who was from a working class background and believed that the PM was denying her similar upbringing and pretending to be something she wasn't) covered the Prince Buster song Whine and Grine with the addition of a refrain of "Stand down Margaret/Stand down please,/Stand down Margaret". The Specials' cover of Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" also had some definite associations, even though Dylan hadn't been thinking of her when he wrote the song.
- Pink Floyd's Roger Waters is a vocal critic of Thatcher, and he would take shots at her in the 1977 song, "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" from Animals, and throughout the 1983 album The Final Cut, which was released after The Falklands War started.
- And then there is Morrissey's "Margaret On The Guillotine"...
- French singer Renaud wrote a song ("Miss Maggie") where he expressed how men were violent, vulgar and stupidly proud, and finishing each verse by stating how no woman would lower herself to such a behavior, "ą part bien sūr Mme Thatcher" (except of course Mrs Thatcher). He finished by saying that after his death, rather than going to a Hell full of stupid men, he would rather stay on Earth as a dog, provided he could use Margaret Thatcher as a street lamp to pee on.
- Elvis Costello wrote a song on his 1989 album Spike, titled "Tramp The Dirt Down", which explains how he would like to do as much to "Maggie" when she dies.
- Frank Turner, being the punk he is, wrote the bluntly-titled "Thatcher Fucked The Kids".
- Even Turner is probably topped for bluntness by The Exploited's enchantingly nasty "Maggie You Cunt".
- In another frank statement of opinion, the notorious cover of Iron Maiden's single "Sanctuary" showed the band's undead Metal Band Mascot "Eddie" standing over a dead Thatcher with a bloody dagger in his hand.
- Margaret Thatcher is also made fun of in the Bloom County strips parodying the Falklands War and the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana and the birth of their first son, William.
- Sherman's Lagoon was once infested by a giant singing clone of Barry Manilow, to which the government responded by sending "the toughest agent they could find"; Margaret Thatcher on water skis with a machine gun.
- Private Eye had two main comic strip parodies of the Thatcher years, one where she was identified with Rommel in a Desert Rats-inspired scenario, the other where she was 'the Maggon' to Neil Kinnock's Dan Dare stand-in.
- The Daily Record's Angus Og had Thatcher as a frequent target due to her (in)famous anti-Scottish stance. In one example her picture was rejected as a Dartboard of Hate because it was felt her face might blunt the darts.
- Doonesbury 's Zonker Harris, who owns a British lordship, was once called to the House of Lords to help repeal one of Thatcher's tax laws. He proceeded to lead the lords in singing "Ding, dong, the witch is dead!"
- You Are Maggie Thatcher was a roleplaying game where you had to win the election in bizarre and hilarious manners.
- Diana: Warrior Princess is a roleplaying game about a future holo-vision show full of Future Imperfect. As a result, it has Princess Diana and Toni the Vampire Slayer going up against the sorceress Thatcher and the war god Landmines.
- The opening of the second act of Billy Elliot is a song called 'Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher', an upbeat tune with lyrics celebrating that Christmas is "one day closer to [her] death." Not to mention that poor government policy is the whole reason the town's miners are on strike.
- Even the Dead Parrot Sketch wasn't immune to Thatcher.
- Thatcher appears as a character in the Doctor Who stage play (yes) "The Ultimate Adventure".
- Grand Theft Auto:
- Wanted: Monty Mole was based on the infamous Miners' Strike against Thatcher's policies that lead to the destruction of several British industries.
- In the computer version of Nuclear War, she is "P.M. Satcher".
- Thatcher appears in Tropico 4 under the name "Brunhilde Van Hoof" but the head shot is very clearly meant to be her. Funnily enough she's thought to be Dutch in game and is a representative of the UN rather than being tied to the UK.
- Tends to show up in a lot of Alternate History stories set in the 1970s and the 1980s.
- In the famously dystopian What if Gordon Banks Had Played? timeline, Thatcher is Home Secretary in the cabinet of PM Enoch Powell and is put on trial for human rights abuses in the prison camps in Northern Ireland after Powell's government falls.
- She also appears in Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, this time as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Once more, she is shown implementing authoritarian anti-terror measures against the PIRA. However, Edward Heath gives her this job because he hopes it will break her.
- Thaxted imagines what might have happened if a young Margaret Hilda Roberts had become a Marxist instead of a Conservative.
- A Greater Britain is more concerned with the first half of the 20th century, but Margaret Thatcher appears in an epilogue — as a member of the Labour Party.