Thatcher's friends condemn TV play

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Supporters of Baroness Thatcher reacted angrily yesterday to the portrayal of the former Prime Minister as a booze-sodden warmonger in a new BBC drama to be screened this month.

In the programme, about a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea - in which her son Mark was involved - she is seen as a lonely drinker. In one scene, at a party at her son's Cape Town home, she is seen repeatedly asking for her glass of whisky to be refilled by passing guests.

The portrayal comes in the BBC2 drama Coup, written by the satirist John Fortune and starring Caroline Blakiston (pictured) as the ex-PM.

Her former press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham, has dismissed suggestions she was a heavy drinker. He said yesterday: "She did like a whisky and soda but I've seldom seen her anything more than... merry and talkative."

The BBC said the drama was Mr Fortune's interpretation, adding: "Lady Thatcher appears very briefly."