Maggie movie puts world TV in her bag

SHE MAY BE Yesterday's Woman here, but from Tokyo to Amsterdam she is a box-office hit, and the Germans think of her as a star in the class of Baroness Thatcher's revealing television documentary, The Downing Street Years, has sold to more than a dozen countries, netting the BBC a million dollars and making her the hottest property since Michael Palin for Around the World in Eighty Days.

The Beeb, which used to being on the receiving end of the former prime minister's waspish tongue, is now dishing out royalty cheques to her, and plans to issue the four-and-a- quarter-hour blockbuster on video next month.

This astonishing TV sale of the century has come as no surprise to Hugh Scully, presenter of the Antiques Roadshow, whose Finite Productions persuaded Lady Thatcher to unburden herself in front of the camera. 'We knew as soon as she signed the contract that we had something extraordinary, but we didn't know how frank and forthcoming she was prepared to be,' he said last night. 'She was as good as her word.'

Maggie, The Movie, has been sold to television networks in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Saudi Arabia (for several Middle East countries), Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Denmark, Portugal and Canada. Negotiations are continuing in the United States, where her price - about dollars 250,000 ( pounds 170,000) - is said to be meeting resistance.

Not surprisingly, she is also exciting strong interest in Germany. 'The Germans are fascinated by three women, apparently,' says Scully. 'Liz Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Margaret Thatcher.'

Quite what these foreign audiences will make of the political melodrama, with its saintly heroine whose downfall is plotted by horrible men in suits, is another matter.

One omission from the mini-series is likely to disappoint the hundreds of millions to whom it will be screened later this year. Although Lady Thatcher amazed Scully by her frankness in the 40 hours of filming, she refused to discuss the Other Woman who fascinates foreigners, the Queen.

Scully said: 'I asked her what the Queen said when she went to the Palace to tender her resignation. She said she couldn't go into that, and changed the subject.'

What a pity. But at least Lady Thatcher can count her royalties while queening it round the world. This week, she sets off for Brazil, Chile and Mexico at the invitation of the Brazilian bank Garantia. All her engagements are private, ticket-only affairs to which 'a cross-section of businessmen, bankers and VIPs' are invited, says her office coyly. And somebody pays, but 'that's private'.

BBC Enterprises, itself a legacy of the Thatcher years, is in no doubt why the series is so popular. 'She was a colossus on the world stage. Her name is known from Moscow to Madagascar.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement