A Very British Coup (1988)

UK, 19 June-3 July
1 series, 3 episodes, average 52m
16mm film, colour, 4:3
mono, English

A British science fiction television mini-series based on a book by Chris Mullin and directed by Mick Jackson.


In the very Britain of March 1991, a corrupt Conservative government is defeated by Harry Perkins, a working class, who leads a very left-wing Labour Party. He's attacked on all sides, by the media, the security services and the US government leading to an attempted military coup.


Regular Crew
Directed by: Mick Jackson
Skreba Films for Channel 4
Produced by: Ann Skinner, Sally Hibbin
Adapted by: Alan Plater
Based on a Book by: Chris Mullin
Music by: John Keane
Designed by: Grant Hicks

Regular Cast
Ray McAnally (Harry Perkins)
Alan MacNaughtan (Sir Percy Browne)
Keith Allen (Fred Thompson)
Geoffrey Beevers (Wainwright)
Philip Madoc (Fison)
Tim McInnerny (Fiennes)
Marjorie Yates (Joan Cook)
Oliver Ford-Davies (Tweed)
Christine Kavanagh (Liz)
David McKail (Robertson)
Erin Donovan (Chambers)
Shane Rimmer (Morgan)
Kika Markham (Helen)
Clive Merrison (interviewer)


Episode 1 (19 June 1988)
With: Jim Carter (Newsome), Caroline John.

Episode 2 (26 June 1988)
With: Jim Carter (Newsome)

Episode 3 (3 July 1988)
With: Oscar Quitak (Kowalsky)



  • Broadcast 27 March 1987 pp.8
  • Broadcast 27 November 1987 p.15
  • Cinefantastique vol.19 no.4 (May 1989) p.55 – review
  • City Limits no.350 (16 June 1988) p.22
  • Critical Studies in Mass Communication vol.8 no.4 (December 1991) pp.389-403 – article (Difficult viewing: the pleasures of complex screen narrative by Brad Chisholm)
  • The Listener vol.119 no.3068 (23 June 1988) pp.8-9, 44 – review (by Roy Hattersley)
  • The Listener vol.120 no.3071 (14 July 1988) pp.28-29 – letter
  • Screen International no.622 (17 October 1987) p.54
  • Screen International no.623 (24 October 1987) pp.411
  • Screen International no.629 (5 December 1987) pp.27
  • Screen vol.32 no.2 (Summer 1991) pp.209-219 – article (Condition critical by Peter Keighron)
  • Sight and Sound vol.57 no.2 (Spring 1988) pp.95-97
  • Television Today no.5593 (23 June 1988) pp.17
  • Televisual November 1987 p.19
  • Time Out no.930 (15 June 1988) pp.47
  • Time Out no.931 (22 June 1988) pp.48
  • TV Times vol.131 no.25 (18 June 1988) pp.10 – review (by Glenys Kinnock)
  • Variety 6 July 1988 p.46


  • The Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction by Alan Burton pp.410-413 – note
  • Paranoid Visions: Spies, Conspiracies and the Secret State in British Television Drama by Joseph Oldham
  • Serials on British Television 1950-1994 by Ellen Baskin p.235