Thatcher didn’t save Britain: and other myths of the era dispelled

Chris Hallam's World View

Myth 1: Margaret Thatcher “saved Britain”

Whatever else you may think about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy, David Cameron and the Daily Mail are clearly wrong. While Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill arguably saved Britain from invasion and President Kennedy’s actions may have saved us from nuclear destruction over Cuba in 1962, Thatcher cannot claim this. Without her, you might argue we might have lost the Falklands, still be strike-bound or a poorer nation than we are currently. Or alternatively, you might think, we would have a fairer, wealthier society, fewer homeless people, less crime and free prescription charges. Either way, Britain would still exist.

Myth 2: Margaret Thatcher “won the Cold War”

Thatcher famously identified Mikhail Gorbachev as “a man she could do business with” early on (in 1984) and this is to her credit. But the thaw in East-West relations had little to do with US President Ronald Reagan, even…

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Victoria vs. Poldark

Chris Hallam's World View

Reproduced, with thanks, from Bingebox magazine (2016):


Send her victorious? As
the dust settles, ITV’s Victoria is widely seen as the winner of this autumn’s
big ratings battle with BBC’s Poldark. But whatever the outcome, both are
likely to be big sellers on DVD this Christmas.

In retrospect, with its
attractive cast and sumptuous period setting, it might seem hard to see how
Victoria could have failed. But fail, she very easily could have. A few months
ago, Jenna Coleman’s post-Doctor Who credentials were unproven. But as the
teenaged Queen assuming leadership of the greatest empire the world has ever
seen, Coleman has triumphed, her decision to forsake the TARDIS, totally

Her on screen romances with
her first Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (played by aging sex symbol, Rufus
Sewell) and more famously German aristocrat, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) were
also well received. Although given that Coleman is already…

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Book review: Who Dares Wins: Britain, 1979-1982, by Dominic Sandbrook

Chris Hallam's World View

Published by: Allen Lane, Penguin. Out now.

I am writing this in a time of acute political crisis. It is easy to lose all sense of perspective when assessing a situation while it’s still happening. Even so, the year 2019 is unlikely to be viewed as a happy one for nation when we remember it in forty years time.

Despite this, the fifth volume in Dominic Sandbrook’s history of Britain since Suez, reminds us, the period, 1979-82 was very eventful indeed.

To briefly recap:

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman prime minister in British history.

By 1980, she was already hugely unpopular as unemployment and inflation rocketed. There would probably have been a recession around this time anyway, but Thatcher’s dogged commitment to monetarism made things worse. Not for the last time, Labour blow the opportunity to replace the Tories in power by electing the decent but unelecttable…

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Book review: Quentin Tarantino – The Iconic Filmmaker and his Work

Chris Hallam's World View

Quentin Tarantino – The Iconic Filmmaker and his Work, by Ian Nathan. Published by White Lion

One day, nearly thirty years ago, a young bearded man in a black suit ran across a road and was immediately hit by a car. Despite flying into and breaking the car’s windscreen, the hoodlum is soon on his feet again and pointing a gun at the unfortunate driver. As the scene is filmed from the driver’s perspective, it almost feels like we, the ones in the audience, are the ones being carjacked.

The carjacker was one ‘Mr Pink’ played by Steve Buscemi. The film was Reservoir Dogs and with its release, the career of film director, Quentin Tarantino had begun.

The years ahead would see the film’s director, Tarantino become so cool that for a while, it seemed possible that the name ‘Quentin’ might actually become cool in itself. In the end, despite…

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TV review: Toast of London

Chris Hallam's World View

Steven Toast (Matt Berry) is an actor. He is not a very good actor or, indeed, a very good person. He is arrogant, short-tempered and a womaniser. He has no real sense of humour and doesn’t even seem to fully understand what a joke is. He has odd gaps in his knowledge: for example, he has never heard of ten-pin-bowling or Benedict Cumberbatch. For these reasons and more, he sorely tries the patience of his agent, Jane Plough (rhymes with “fluff”), played by Doon Mackichan.

He is the creation of star Matt Berry and co-writer Arthur Mathews. Three series of the sitcom ran on Channel 4 between 2013 and 2015 and are now on Netflix. A fourth series is on its way.

Most episodes of Toast begin in the same way; with Toast in a studio where he reluctantly fulfils a range of voice over commitments. This is one thing…

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TV review: The Politician – Season 1

Chris Hallam's World View

Payton Hobart really wants to be president. He really, really wants it, in fact. He seems to have planned out every detail of his two terms in the White House already. And he is only seventeen years old. He seems to the living example of why anyone who wants to be president enough to successfully go through the process of being successfully elected is probably precisely the wrong person to be doing the job.

Netflix’s new comedy drama begins with Peyton (Ben Platt) launching his campaign for election to the position of student body president of his Santa Barbara high school. This proves to be a surprisingly big deal fought with almost all of the intensity of the actual presidential elections, Hobart imagines one day fighting himself. Indeed, that’s the plan for the series too: future seasons of The Politician aim to focus on different political campaigns occurring throughout Peyton’s…

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A-Z of Exeter – Places – People – History, by Chris Hallam

Chris Hallam's World View

Published by Amberley: October 15th 2019

For 2,000 years, the Devon city of Exeter has played a small
but vital role in our nation’s history. There have been highs and lows. For
centuries, it was one of the top cities in the land, elevated into a golden age
of prosperity. But the city has also suffered countless incursions from a wide
range of invaders both foreign and English. It came close to defeating William
the Conqueror, remained defiant in the face of German bombing, fought on both
sides in the English Civil War and has battled fires, plagues, sieges and
pretenders to the throne.

This is Exeter’s story, told
for the first time in alphabetical order.

Chapter headings include:

The Civil War

JK Rowling

The Exeter Blitz

The Great Theatre Fire

Witches on trial

Chris Hallam was born in Peterborough
and settled in Exeter in 2005 where he now lives…

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2000AD Jump On Prog – and a timeline to die for…

Prog 2150 is out this week – a jump on prog with all new stories from the likes of John Wagner on Dredd and Pat Mills Dafoe. A big hitter! You can read more on the 2000AD news site here

I always enjoy dipping into a jump on prog and this looks like a good one! There is some new 2000AD and Megazine subscription offers too, which may be of interest.

Today I saw the pages for the ComicScene 2000AD Timeline which will appear in the next issue of the magazine. It’s looking pretty good, decorated with some fan art we’ve been sent to accompany it. A great compliment to our recent ComicZine special (which you can pick up here ). I am really looking forward to the next issue with other 2000AD inspired exclusives including a major interview with Andy Diggle, Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Metallica Kirk Hammett on…

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ComicScene Issue 9 Preview

Coming out 24th October and available to pre order now is ComicScene Issue 9.

Behind an Ian Kennedy cover is the 32 page pull out comic ‘Great War Dundee’ which was recently launched at the V&A Dundee. The comic features a new strip, ‘Ragtime Soldier’ by Pat Mills and artists Gary Welsh and ComicScene Podcast host Phillip Vaughan. Regarded by many as the next ‘Charley’s War’ this is accompanied by extensive notes by Pat with his thoughts behind the story. Other strips include ‘Casualties of War’ by former Commando Comics editor Calum Laird and Elliot Balsan and ‘Women’s Toon’ by Commando writers Hailey Austin and Erin Keepers and 2000AD artist Anna Morozova with lettering by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Also free in this issue is a double side pull out poster with art by Ed Doyle from our recent Comic Zine cover and the winning Batman/Joker Covers by Jon Mitchell.

Features this…

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Head to Head: House of Cards Vs The West Wing

Chris Hallam's World View

Gratefully reproduced from Bingebox magazine (2016):


Welcome to the presidency of Josiah Bartlet. During the
seven season run of Aaron Sorkin’s award-winning series, we see the fictional two-
term administration take a rollercoaster ride through crises (a major
assassination attempt and an attempt to kidnap the president’s daughter),
scandal (is the president concealing something important from everyone?),
disaster (a major nuclear accident in California), numerous triumphs and many
other matters, some of global import, some, such as the president falling off a
bike in public, more trivial.

In truth though, this is not just the story of a president but of the talented team behind him. In what may prove to be career-best role, onetime Brat Packer Rob Lowe excels in the first four seasons as razor-sharp speechwriter Sam Seaborn with Bradley Whitford, Alison Janney, Richard Schiff, John Spencer (the last of whom sadly died just as…

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