C4 actor stays in character to play sleazy MP

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The Independent Online
It is a casting director's dilemma. You need someone to play a slimy, grasping, untrustworthy Tory MP who is swamped in a tide of sleaze and finds a former foreign correspondent running against him in the general election. Who would you tar with such typecasting?

Step forward Robert Duncan, better known as Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey, the slimy, grasping, untrustworthy manager in Channel 4's satire on TV newsrooms.

Mr Duncan is to star in Mr White Goes to Westminster, a full-length satirical film for Channel 4's winter season based on the goings on in Tatton in May. It covers the election and subsequent rise to power of former foreign correspondent, Ben White.

The tarnished MP, known here as Paul Madison, is opposed by white-suited former hack Bill Patterson. Mr Madison's formidable and haughty Tory wife is played by Celia Imrie. The film is written by Guy Jenkin, one of the writers of Drop the Dead Donkey and follows similar topical satires about escaping prisoners and slippery home secretaries.

Other highlights of Channel 4's winter line-up includes extended celebrations of the channel's 15th anniversary with some imaginative packaging of repeats. In Storm Over Four, the programme-makers and journalists involved in outrage stories about Channel 4 offerings such as the Red Light Zone and Brookside recount the media controversies created by the press.

In Fantasy Schedule, viewers will be able to vote for their favourite evening's programming from a shortlist of different Brookside, Cutting Edge, Cheers, Friends, Drop the Dead Donkey and Father Ted episodes. Other nostalgia trips will include a live reprise of The Last Resort, the programme that was to blame for making Jonathan Ross famous.