The Living Dead (Part 3)

The Attic

The final part of the Adam Curtis trilogy about the influence of the past in shaping present day political realities. This episode deals with the imperial aspirations of Margaret Thatcher and the way in which the “Iron Lady” used public relations in an attempt to rekindle nationalistic sentiments associated with Britain’s “glorious past” (personified by Winston Churchill, who Thatcher tried desperately to emulate) in order to fulfill crass political ends.

From the introduction by Adam Curtis:

Britain is a country haunted by its past. It is possessed by the memory of a golden age; a time long ago when this country was the most powerful on earth.

This is a film about what happens when politicians summon up that romantic vision. For a moment, it gives them immense power, but then they discover they have invoked forces they cannot control. The price they pay is to become imprisoned by their dream. They and the British people find themselves trapped by their history.

The title of this episode, by the way, is a reference to the attic flat at the top of 10 Downing Street, which was created during Thatcher’s period refurbishment of the house during the 1980s, which did away with the Prime Minister’s previous living quarters on lower floors.