The Confessions of Gordon Brown

Kevin Toolis

Assembly Hall

From 31 July 2014 to 25 August 2014

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

It is hard to judge whether scriptwriter Kevin Toolis believes that he has written a straight biographical piece about the former Prime Minister or a satire lampooning him.

That might be a reflection of the popular view of Gordon Brown created by the media or could result from a lack of respect that the writer appears to feel towards his subject.

In any event, for 90 minutes (though the clock doesn’t move from 5:43AM) Ian Grieve, both looking and sounding like Gordon Brown give or take the height issue about which the Scot obsessed, gives viewers an impression of what life was like when aspiring to and then occupying the highest political role in the land. He also comments candidly on many of his contemporaries.

It has to be said that Brown does not come across as the kind of man that one would invite to tea, at least not without accepting that he could be denigrating you very soon afterwards, as he does almost everyone that he came across, with the notable exception of his noble clerical father John.

This is therefore a bitchy presentation by an ambitious, hot-tempered man who was jealous of and grew to hate his smiling predecessor.

Whether GB was ever really quite like this bitter, spiteful man who got what he wanted but made few friends along the way seems doubtful. Even so, it is as close as most of us will ever get to meeting the Scottish former PM.