My friend Steve Hayward had the wit to paraphrase, in reaction to the arrival of Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, some comments about another incoming PM, eighty years ago next May. “Cambridge Cute,” says another friend of Steve’s good piece.
Speaking of Cambridge Cuties, I immediately thought of what Andrew Roberts described as “The Respectable Tendency,” the British establishment, in his great book, Eminent Churchilllians. So I dug into the sources to find more of what they said back then about the new Prime Minister. (Lightly paraphrased.)
Q. “Rab” Butler, Churchill’s Minister of Education (1941-45) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1951-55), recalled that Churchill once told him he was doing less for the war effort than Churchill’s grey cat Nelson, who saved fuel and power by acting as a Prime Ministerial hot-water bottle. True?
Churchill’s Secret, co-produced by PBS Masterpiece and ITV (UK). Directed by Charles Sturridge, starring Michael Gambon as Sir Winston and Lindsay Duncan as Lady Churchill. To watch, click here.
PBS and ITV have succeeded where many failed. They offer a Churchill documentary with a minimum of dramatic license, reasonably faithful to history (as much as we know of it). Churchill’s Secret limns the pathos, humor, hope and trauma of a little-known episode: Churchill’s stroke on 23 June 1953, and his miraculous recovery. For weeks afterward, his faithful lieutenants in secret ran the government.…