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Series / The Politician's Wife

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The Politician's Wife is a 1995 three-part Channel 4 drama written by Paula Milne about Flora Matlock, the devoted wife of the current Tory government's Minister for the Family, who learns that her husband, Duncan, is having an affair with a researcher and former escort girl named Jennifer Caird. While all her husband's colleagues and even her own father try to persuade her to stand by him for the good of the Party, Flora plans her revenge.


If you're in the United Kingdom, you can check it out on 4OD.

The Politician's Husband, a Spiritual Successor to The Politician's Wife also written by Milne, aired in 2013. The two works are not directly related, but are thematically very similar.

Provides examples of:

  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • Boarding School: Paul starts out as a day pupil, but decides to board full-time because he can't stand to be under the same roof as his father.
  • Book Ends: The first episode begins, and the last episode ends, with Flora Matlock's face on a television screen. (No, not yours; a television screen In-Universe.)
  • Daddy's Girl: Flora's relationship with her father. She even calls him "Daddy" into adulthood, (something which would seem invokedmore unusual to British audiences than to Americans who saw it on PBS). Joanna is referred to as having this relationship with Duncan, although it's not very well-demonstrated.
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  • Despair Gambit: Flora's plan is to destroy Duncan's career. Since it's the only thing that actually matters to him rather than her and the kids, just leaving him wouldn't really make much of an impact.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When Flora tries to implicate Duncan in a sweetheart deal on a manor house arranged with one of his former colleagues from an insurance company, Duncan bounces back by telling the House that he bought it for the local nursery to use as permanent premises.
  • Distant Finale: Flora is elected into Duncan's old job while the Party exiles him to Brussels.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Flora doesn't start planning her revenge proper until Hollister provides her with information that shows that extent to which Duncan had deceived her, including claiming to be at work when he was actually with Jennifer when his daughter's appendix ruptured.
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  • Gay Conservative: Mark Hollister. This is part of the reason why he wants to help Flora in her vendetta - he doesn't want a bigot like Duncan polluting the ethics and policies of the Party and it can take years to get rid of the effect that that can have. A case of Truth in Television since the stank from the Tories' interactions with the Queer community in The '80s still dogs David Cameron's administration today.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Flora.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: The initial dynamic of Flora and Duncan's relationship. It later emerges Duncan wanted her for her dad's contacts with the Party. Plus, her positive attributes made her an ideal Trophy Wife.
  • The Informant: Mark Hollister gives Flora a tape of Duncan and Jennifer's phone conversations anonymously, but later outs himself to her and provides her with more information about the affair.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Heavily. At the end, Flora Matlock is elected Minister of the Family, and the last line in the miniseries is a political commentator saying, "Right now, she's savoring the moment of her triumph, and I'm sure everyone sitting at home watching this will feel that it's a triumph she's certainly earned."
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Inverted. Flora tries to appeal to Duncan's kinks in order to keep him sweet and oblivious to her plotting his downfall.
  • Meal Ticket: Flora, but for her dad's influence with the Party rather than his wealth (although that probably didn't hurt).
  • Missing Mum: Flora's mum was killed in a car crash at some undetermined point between Flora bringing Duncan home to meet her and Clive and the present day.
  • The '90s: Very much so, complete with Walkmans (or should that be "Walkmen"?), original flavour Gameboys and curtain dresses.
  • Parental Favoritism: Flora flat-out states that Paul is "hers" while Joanna is closer to her dad. As mentioned above, it's not very clear, but given Duncan's general lack of involvement, this could be a case of "all give and no take" on Joanna's part.
    • Clive seems to do this as well, but by favoring Duncan, who he considers to be a son in all but name, over Flora. Rather than going all Papa Wolf on his ass when the news that he cheated on Flora gets out, he uses the death of Flora's mother to try to browbeat her into sticking by Duncan. It's later revealed that he knew about the affair all along and did precisely jack shit about it.
  • Re-Cut: The version that aired on Masterpiece Theatre had about eight minutes of material cut from it.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Duncan, who gets off on Flora's attempts to lash out at him.
  • Trophy Wife: Flora, although she doesn't know it at first.
  • Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...: Flora busts out a killer speech at the Conservative Christian Wives meeting.
  • Virgin in a White Dress: The white nightie that Flora wears serves to compound Jennifer's (indirect) comment about her being "passive and sexually unadventurous".
  • Woman Scorned