Unmasking Our Leaders by Michael Cockerell SEPTEMBER 21 (Cheaper than Amazon)
Confessions of a Political Documentary Maker
21 September 2021
Michael Cockerell is Britain’s most celebrated TV documentary-maker, with a string of awards for his witty and eye-opening profiles of our Prime Ministers and other top politicians. ‘You are no one in British politics until you’ve been Cockerelled,’ said one newspaper.
Our political leaders spend their careers spinning their images and polishing their achievements. Michael Cockerell has spent his professional life stripping off the gloss. Drawing on his unique experience of having filmed and interviewed all of the past ten Prime Ministers, Cockerell reveals how Margaret Thatcher flirted with him on screen but attacked him by name in the Commons; how before the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair told Cockerell he would willingly ‘pay the blood price’ demanded by President Bush over Iraq; how David Cameron admitted that he took from Cockerell’s profile of Enoch Powell the advice that you should always make a big speech on a full bladder; and how Boris Johnson admitted he had doubts about his own ability to be Prime Minister.
Cockerell tells how he manages to lull some of the wariest people in the land into candour. He also shows how questions of sex are never far from the surface in Westminster. As he was once warned by a seasoned politico: ‘These people at No. 10 can be very seductive – beware the stocking tops of power.’
This is a book written from a ringside seat about politics in the raw, filled with stories of the clash between principles and power, loyalty and intrigue, and how what starts with cheers almost invariably ends in tears. It is also the story of a life working in political television, where tensions, rivalries and rackety love lives often mirror those in the Westminster bubble.
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