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Program Title
The Politician's Wife

Episode Title
Body Politics

Episode number:
1 2 3

Original broadcast date

Cast Characters
Juliet Stevenson Flora Matlock
Trevor Eve Duncan Matlock
Anton Lesser Mark Hollister
Ian Bannen Sir Donald Frazier
Frederick Treves Clive Woodley
Minnie Driver Jennifer Caird


Producer: Jenny Edwards, Jeanna Polley, Neal Weisman
Director: Graham Theakston

THE POLITICIAN'S WIFE/Episode 2/Intro by Russell Baker

Duncan Matlock's promising political career has been jeopardized by disclosure of an adulterous affair with a younger woman. His wife, Flora, has been urged by the party faithful to be a good soldier, swallow her pain, and stand by her husband.

But Flora's appetite for playing the loyal wife is fading. Duncan has been telephoning his mistress for garish discussions of his lustiest passions.

This is the same mistake Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, made a few years ago, apparently unaware that his phone chats could be easily recorded. Prince Charles's ended up in the newspapers.

Duncan Matlock's ended up in custody of his chief advisor Mark Hollister, and Mark has passed them on to Flora. "We don't quite know why, though," Mark tells Flora, "The urge to destroy is creative."

Listening over and over to these steamy tapes has Flora in a fury with Duncan. Last time, though, we saw Flora beginning to move beyond plain outrage toward something more subtle. She seemed to be developing into a resourceful political operator on her own.

And maybe a very dangerous enemy to the very politicians who have been using her.

Episode Two, The Politician's Wife.

THE POLITICIAN'S WIFE/Episode 2/Extro by Russell Baker

"The Politician's Wife" owes a good bit to a sensational British scandal of the early 1960s, known as the Profumo affair.

John Profumo, Minister of War in the Conservative government, seemed headed for a distinguished political career. He had good conservative credentials -- Harrow, Oxford, foreign service in Japan after World War Two...

And, for a touch of glamour, was married to a well-known British stage and movie actress, Valerie Hobson.

Then, in 1963, catastrophe.

Rumors began circulating in London of wild parties being held at the famous Astor estate, Cliveden. At these raffish parties it was said diplomats and elegant London society mingled freely -- and in some cases licentiously -- with the not so elegant.

The names of two teen-aged call girls began to crop up in the press…Then their photos…

Then charges that John Profumo had had an affair with one of them, Christine Keeler…

Then by the news that a Soviet naval attaché in London had also been Miss Keeler's lover.

Faced with charges that he had been sleeping with a woman who slept with the enemy, Secretary of War Profumo did the same thing Duncan Matlock did in our show tonight. He lied to the House of Commons.

Profumo's sexual indiscretions might not have ruined him, but a cabinet officer lying to the House was beyond the pale. Profumo resigned in disgrace.

My encyclopedia says that afterward he dedicated himself to philanthropy with such success that twelve years later he was named Commander of the British Empire for his charitable work.

For Masterpiece Theatre, I'm Russell Baker. Goodnight.

Episode number: 1 2 3

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