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Through the Keirhole: Starmer plots TV drama

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Pitch: a struggling politician eager to make his mark. He’s 10 points behind in the polls, leading a fractitious party and struggling to prove he is the charismatic, dynamic and likeable leader his country needs. From where does he seek salvation? That time-honoured tradition of the fly on the wall documentary.

Such an outlandish proposal could soon be all too real, according to the Times today which reports a production company is in talks with Sir Keir Starmer about the proposal. Broadcasters have been asked if they would be interested in showing the programme which some Labour sources believe could be an ‘effective way to broadcast Starmer’s personality to a larger slice of the electorate.’

Naturally such a proposal has caused a storm on social media, given the last efforts of a flailing Labour leader to attempt the TV documentary route to rehabilitation. The 2016 Vice film Jeremy Corbyn: The Outsider featured highlights as an irate Seumas Milne angrily chewing gum and the Dear Leader himself accusing a Guardian journalist of ‘utterly disgusting, subliminal nastiness’.

New Labour grandee Andrew Adonis advised Starmer against the move, writing drily: ‘I really really wouldn’t – unless it’s for an obituary’ while former Tory leader William Hague told Times Radio: ‘I had a fly on the wall documentary when I had a faltering leadership. I had fun… it didn’t do me any harm. Bad news is: it didn’t make any difference.’

Such advice hasn’t stopped suggestions for programme names rolling in, even though Labour sources have been keen to stress the proposal is at an early stage. Nominations thus far have included ‘Keir Today, Gone Tomorrow’ and ‘In the Knight Garden’ while others prefer the names of former series such as One Foot in the Grave, The Walking Dead and Clueless.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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