After a four-year hiatus, on May 4, 24 will be back, this time taking terrorist vanquisher Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) to drizzly London. The 12-episode 24: Live Another Day features the charismatic Prime Minister Trevor Davies, played by Britain’s entertainment czar, Stephen Fry. And the question on everyone’s mind (well, mine and David Cameron’s) is what sort of Prime Minister will he be?
Will he be one of Chris Mullin’s soppy-eyed, over-seasoned geezers like A Very British Coup’s Harry Perkins (Ray McAnally)? Although Fry could bring a certain Jeeves-esque upper-crustedness to the role, let’s hope he doesn’t. McAnally may have won a BAFTA for playing Perkins, but the world can only take so much of a somber frown and rage suppressed by good manners.
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Or, perhaps 24 writers will take advantage of Fry’s comedy background. He could be Yes, Prime Minister’s Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington), who fancies himself more of a statesman than he can pull off, but do we need another fuddy-duddy straight man? If he’s to take cues from anyone in the Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister series, he’s better suited as Sir Humphrey (Nigel Hawthorne). Who doesn’t want to see Stephen Fry shopping at Harrods for a nuclear missile?
On the other hand, perhaps Trevor Davies’ charisma will mask his evil inner-workings. Maybe not quite extraterrestrial evil like Doctor Who’s Harold Saxon (John Simm), although couldn’t you see Stephen Fry behind his big, important desk watching Teletubbies, too? Rather, more like the evil of Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards, which returned to Netflix for season two on Valentine’s Day. Spacey plays a calm, calculating southern gentleman destroying the lives and careers of his betrayers. Lest you argue that Spacey’s Frank Underwood is not Prime Minister, remember that he is an American re-imagining of Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) in the original, UK House of Cards series. Urquhart is a conniving and yet charmingly Shakespearean Prime Minister prone to addressing us through the camera lens. Granted, he’s also prone to pushing people off roofs. How lovely would it be to see the jovial, friendly Stephen Fry in a role such as this, perhaps bringing in some of the quirky traits of A Game of Shadows’ mock-gentleman Mycroft Holmes (but with less nudity).
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Whether he’s more of a Perkins, Hacker, or Urquhart, there are two fates from which Mr. Fry will hopefully be spared (and you can decide which is worse): becoming the babbling, love-sick Hugh Grant in Love Actually or becoming the UK 2011 drama Black Mirror’s Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) who, in order to rescue the princess, is forced to shag a pig.
Jaime Nelson is editor of anglonerd.com, a British TV and comedy blog for Americans.
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