Monday 26 February 2018

Dobbs tells of House Of Cards row

Michael Dobbs insisted his name was removed from the credits by the time the BBC adapted his third book in 1995
Michael Dobbs insisted his name was removed from the credits by the time the BBC adapted his third book in 1995

House Of Cards author Michael Dobbs has told of his "handbags at dawn" with the BBC over the acclaimed TV adaptations of his books.

The original BBC drama inspired the current US show, with Kevin Spacey starring in the villainous politician role.

Dobbs insisted his name was removed from the credits by the time the broadcaster adapted his third book in 1995.

"It bore so little resemblance to my book, in fact I don't think my book had anything to do with it," the former adviser to Margaret Thatcher told Radio Times magazine.

"I started reading drafts about the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, with 'how much better if she had gone by the bomb or by the bullet'.

"Having recently walked out of the ruins of the Grand (the Brighton hotel housing the Tory conference that was bombed by the IRA) I was rather sensitive and I thought it was not right.

"When I was told by a very senior BBC executive that if I took my name off, I would never, ever work for the BBC ever again, I thought that they'd given me absolutely everything I needed to walk out the door, and I did."

Dobbs has previously revealed that he has teamed up with Adam Price, creator of Borgen, to pen a new Westminster thriller.

He would not comment on rumours that the script is with the BBC but said: "It's not as cynical as House of Cards, not as goody-two-shoes as Borgen."

Dobbs said he had not ruled out writing another House Of Cards book.

He said of Ian Richardson playing Francis Urquhart in the original TV series: "Ian was almost a little camp, in a very British way.

"Kevin is much darker than Ian's interpretation. You really sense the evil inside.

"Ian grew to loathe the role and insisted that he would do no more.

"As soon as he finished, he went off to the stage for the first time in 14 years, played in a Moliere farce, in which he shaved his head and grew a moustache. About as far away from Francis Urquhart as you can get.

"Kevin has more fun with it. He's a much more public figure, much more involved."

Press Association

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