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Jeffrey Archer: The Truth (2002)

A satirical look at the fascinating 'secret' TRUE life of disgraced 1980's Tory politician turned bestselling author Jeffrey Archer. The Truth, the whole truth and everything BUT the truth.

Director:

Guy Jenkin

Writer:

Guy Jenkin
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Damian Lewis ... Jeffrey Archer
Greta Scacchi ... Margaret Thatcher
Polly Walker ... Mrs. Archer
Ben Miller ... Roland Moxley-Nemesis
Emily Mortimer ... Lady Diana - Princess of Wales
Richard Wilson ... Duke of Edinburgh
Richard Griffiths ... Willie Whitelaw
Danielle Tilley Danielle Tilley ... Emma
Steven Pacey Steven Pacey ... Tony Blair
Gary Lineker ... England manager
Rupert Holliday-Evans ... Caspar, Tory MP
Rachel Pickup ... Casino Girl
Geoffrey Beevers Geoffrey Beevers ... Dennis Thatcher
Mark Spalding ... DPG Officer / Royal Guard
Geoffrey Whitehead ... Chessington
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Storyline

Starting in Archer's Oxford days this bizzare comedy maps the 'truth' about Archer's rise, fall and eventual re-rise to power. The story is told in 2009 as Archer helps someone write an unofficial Biography a few year's after Archer's release from Prison. Written by Jonathan Davies <email@jonathan-davies.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This story is based on real events, only the facts have been changed


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Details

Official Sites:

BBC [UK]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 December 2002 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Spoofs Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

One-joke programme that needed to be sharper and funnier
14 December 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

June 2009. Jeffrey Archer meets with a young woman who is to ghost write his story - the truth and nothing but the truth. Archer takes her from his university days through his affair with Margaret Thatcher and his imprisonment. However as she delves deeper into the past of this great man, is he telling her the whole truth and, if not, who is he protecting?

The BBC seem to be on a push to make politics popular or at least get more people into that side of the news. As such they commissioned a couple of programmes to be shown. The first was The Project which didn't really work because you needed to be into politics to commit to a 4 hour drama on New Labour! I had higher hopes for this as it was a comedy, shorter running time and making fun of the famous liar Jeffrey Archer - which can only be a good thing. The film was sold well - basically it is Archer's story as told by him to his ghost writer, and remember Archer was proven in court to be a liar, so everything revolves around him. He inspires the Beatles, he saves the PM from an IRA bomb, he is hugely influential in all political occurrences in the past 20 years and so on. The problem is that this is only one joke, albeit told different ways over 90 minutes. It is rarely very cleverly done and once we get that it's making fun of the liar Archer then there's not much else left.

It is still amusing but it isn't developed enough. Also some of the jokes are in bad taste - several people died in the IRA bomb I mentioned above (in real life) and perhaps a strand saying that Princess Diana was murdered by the Queen and Prince Philip was a little unnecessary. All it needed was to be a little sharper than it was and it would have been better but instead it gets caught in an one-joke story. The cast is good and full of well known British faces. Lewis is a really good choice for Archer - he is the sort of matinee idol actor that Archer would want to play him. Lewis is good despite the one dimensional character he plays and looks like he's having fun even if he's not nothing to do but send himself up. Greta Scacchi is funny as Thatcher and as usual feels compelled to get her bits out for the camera. Other names like Wilson, Ben Miller (Armstrong & Miller) and Griffiths all do well but again are only there to be overcome by the great Archer.

This was amusing but not great. The problem is that the story of Archer's life is funny enough without making fun of real events and his exaggerated role in them. He cheated in races, lied and got sent to jail. The press had a field day with him and most people loved every minute of him. His story is probably worth telling (warts and all) but this ignores it and goes for an easy target. It could have easily been 60 minutes rather than stretching the point to 90 but it was enjoyable if not very funny. To be honest - anything that makes a bigger mockery of Archer is worth watching, even if it is a one-joke affair.


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