Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Campbell criticises Sheen's film

Published 14/09/2010 | 02:32

Michael Sheen plays Tony Blair for the third time in The Special Relationship
Michael Sheen plays Tony Blair for the third time in The Special Relationship

Michael Sheen's latest film, about the relationship between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, has been criticised by former spin doctor Alistair Campbell.

The Special Relationship, made by BBC Films with US outfit HBO, sees the actor reprise his role as Mr Blair and has been written by Peter Morgan, who penned The Queen and the political drama Frost/Nixon.

Campbell told the Radio Times: "The gap between what actually happened and what is portrayed is even bigger in The Special Relationship than in The Queen."

The film sees the young Blair using the weakening of Clinton because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Prime Minister's own revulsion at ethnic cleansing in Kosovo to put himself at the centre of the world stage.

Mr Campbell said: "It ends, improbably, with Clinton at Chequers watching on as Tony Blair talks on the phone to George Bush, and then telling his young heir that he always had doubts about him and wonders now whether he was ever a progressive at all. Somewhere between fanciful and preposterous."

Mr Campbell admitted: "Clinton did at one point think - wrongly - that we were building up TB (Blair) at his expense. There was one particularly angry phone call. There was one particularly difficult meeting in Washington."

But he said: "In real life, it ended with everyone having a drink and agreeing to talk again tomorrow. In the film, Clinton asks TB to 'step outside'. And at one point he says, 'What a tough son of a b***h you are... stabbing me in the back in my own backyard.' Never happened. Nothing like it. Period."

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