The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair (TV Movie 2007) Poster

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Solid and interesting overview of the Blair years but too crammed to offer insight, debate or detail
bob the moo12 July 2007
With his three general elections and decade in power, Tony Blair steps down as Labour's most successful leader. He came to power on a wave of euphoria with promises to reunite the country and invest in modernising the UK's facilities and services. Ironically, ten years later he steps down having led the country into international military efforts against terrorism and having split the country as a result. Using recollections from key people involved in his rule, this film reviews who he was and what he did.

The week that Tony Blair did step down was rammed with television specials about him – some of them serious, some of them mocking, some of the gushing. Of me the finest piece of television that week was actually the live feed from his final PMQ, which was funny and well handled by himself – almost made me forget the massive areas I disagreed with him. The title of the film does rather suggest that this won't be a debate over whether he was a brilliant Prime Minister or not but rather a review of him that acknowledges his "rise" but does not question the fact that he did "fall". This will be one thing to put off some viewers, because it isn't the most balanced of documentaries but it is not like it is out to lynch Blair but more to do with the ambitious approach.

You see, even though this is about three hours long, it is still trying to cover a lot of ground. So what we get is a very fast moving but quite superficial look at his years in charge. It is interesting as a potted (!) summary of ten years of political conflict. Nothing is really debated or discussed so much as it is presented but, if you're fine with that, then it does work for what it is. Of course I would have preferred more insight than this overview gave me but for what it was it was interesting. The large amount of material to cover means that we actually see Andrew Rawnsley very little – personally I didn't really like his style or the way he seemed to speak with his eyebrows as much as his mouth.

Overall then, an effective and well-presented overview of the Tony Blair years which works on that level even if it will be disappointing for anyone looking for more debate, insight or exploration.
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