Friday, 26 November 2010

UK Film Council could have last laugh with £1m donation to Thatcher biopic

If reports that The Iron Lady is 'some left-wing fantasy' are true, then Conservatives may not welcome the UKFC's final move

The credits have begun rolling on the UK Film Council. In July culture secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the disbanding of the body that funds UK films; on Monday morning, Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and the creative industries, will explain how its duties are to be divvied up among existing organisations.

But the UK Film Council appears to be refusing to go out with a bang. One of its last large-scale donations has been to the forthcoming Margaret Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady, which was awarded £1m in October. Some see the move as an 11th-hour snook cocked at the Conservatives who, if rumours surrounding the script are to believed, may not welcome the project.

Tim Walker of the Daily Telegraph reports that Thatcher's family were "appalled" by the sound of the film, which apparently involves the former prime minister reassessing her career with some regret after the death of her husband, Denis, and while she is suffering from dementia. "They think it sounds like some left-wing fantasy," Walker quotes a friend of the family as saying.

Pathé, who are producing the film, insist it will be made with "appropriate sensitivity". Meryl Streep plays Thatcher, and will be reunited with her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd. Jim Broadbent is Denis, while Peep Show's Olivia Colman takes on the role of their daughter, Carol.