Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution

Rating 7.9
Streamer BBC iPlayer
Seasons 1
Episodes 5 x 60 mins

After a long and complicated day at work, the last thing you want to watch is a long and complicated documentary series about a long and complicated political revolution. But, whilst the temptation to brain-out to something a little breezier is strong, we urge you to be stronger and resist wasting your evening on yet another bloody dating show. Besides watching Blair and Brown blubbering over their hidden love for each other isn’t far off a Love Island  firepit recoupling. Personally, we think Brown is mugging Blair off.

It sounds like a total drag; five hour-long investigations into the inner workings of the relationship which could made, and then effectively ended, the Labour Party. Perhaps it’s Brown’s sagging sulk which turns us off, or maybe it’s that garish grin smeared across Blair’s face at all times, no matter how many bridges are burning in the background. Whatever your reservations are, park them at the shiny black door of Number 10. This is a fantastic documentary about the fated Labour revolution that started, and then stalled. 

+ For another then and now documentary, check out our review of 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room

We all love archive footage, even better if it’s from the nineties and better still if featuring random shots of Kate Moss donning a Union Jack dress and Noel Gallagher whispering into the then Prime Minister’s ear. And it is the “well-chosen archive material” which The Independent’s Sean O’Grady believes elevates this “excellently researched” and “brilliantly constructed” documentary. O’Grady isn’t the only critic who enjoys the documentary’s format, with The Financial Times’s Suzi Feay praising the way it was “as fascinating as it was elegantly packaged, frequently telling big stories via small, revealing moments.” But if you need more convincing, listen to The Telegraph’s Anita Singh: “There is politics of course, but at heart it’s a character study of two men and their flaws.”

And what a pair of main characters Blair and Brown make. It’s O’Grady who states that “the stars are Blair and Brown: the Lennon and McCartney of British social democracy”, and this musical metaphor explains exactly why we find this documentary so intriguing. Two brilliant brains fighting for prime position on a podium with space for only one? It’s a Must watch.

+ Speaking of McCartney, have you seen McCartney 3, 2, 1 yet?

First shown October 2021.

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