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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard'
(Jane Horrocks, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / (2006) 2007 / Acorn Media)

Overview: The story follows Mrs Ros Pritchard, a successful manager of a supermarket. When a couple of politicians make a spectacle of themselves outside her shop, Ros decides to stand for election herself, just to prove that she could do better. Her story grips the nation and eight weeks later no one is more surprised than Ros herself when she wins the General Election and becomes the next Prime Minister.

DVD Verdict: At a time when so many people are turned off by politics and politicians, especially national leaders, the "what if?" saga depicted in Sally Wainwright's entertaining six-part BBC series "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" is a shoo-in.

What if a resourceful but otherwise average manager of a supermarket and happily married mother of two became so frustrated with the caliber of politicians that she ran for election and became prime minister?

Why not? There are innumerable reasons why not but they hardly matter as Wainwright, a gifted television writer ("Canterbury Tales -- The Wife of Bath," ("At Home with the Braithwaites") moves quickly through the logical obstacles to place Rosalind Pritchard (Jane Horrocks) in No. 10 Downing Street.

There's enough attention to detail to ensure audience suspension of disbelief that it could happen, and given the current disillusionment, in Britain anyway, with the major political parties, one called the Purple Party led by a sparky northern woman almost makes sense.

Horrocks, who is best known as the dotty personal assistant in TV's "Absolutely Fabulous" and the singer with amazing vocal talent in "Little Voice," is right at home as the no-nonsense store supervisor who applies passion and a lot of common sense to running an election campaign. Her confidence and glibness at the eye of the storm comes a little too easily, but Horrocks is so charming that she carries it off.

Quickly gaining support from professionals including a media whiz played by Jodhi May and skilled ministers from the other parties including a slick operator played by Janet McTeer, Mrs. Pritchard rides to the ballot box on a vast wave of public support.

The possibilities are endless for exploring the drama of politics and sticking the knife into its current practitioners, and Wainwright attacks many of them with gusto.

Besides a visit with Queen Elizabeth and phone calls to and from Tony Blair, Mrs. Pritchard learns to deal with civil servants and claustrophobic security, and also encounters all the horrors that media scrutiny brings. Husband Ian (Steven Mackintosh) and eldest daughter Emily (Carey Milligan) are soon in hot water, but the only woman to succeed Margaret Thatcher as prime minister shows herself quick to adapt.

Declan Lowney directs with flourish and the acting is fine throughout. Horrocks holds it all together with an appealing performance of a woman up to her neck in political crises but more than capable of dealing with them. Which is more than can be said of most men in that position. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but comes with no Special Features.