April 8, 2013 9:15 am
Updated: April 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Thatcher left her mark on pop culture

Meryl Streep won an Oscar for portraying Thatcher in 'The Iron Lady.'


TORONTO – Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday at the age of 87, left her mark on pop culture.

The former British prime minister was immortalized in dozens of movies and TV shows as well as on stage and in music.

On the big screen, Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for portraying Thatcher in 2011’s The Iron Lady.

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“Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics,” Streep said in a statement. “To me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit. I wish to convey my respectful condolences to her family and many friends.”

Thatcher, played by Scottish actress Janet Brown, also showed up in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

On TV, Thatcher was played by Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan in a 2009 BBC Two movie, Margaret, which focused on her final days in office.

Her pre-politics life was chronicled in the 2008 BBC Four movie Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley, in which Andrea Riseborough portrayed the titular character and earned a BAFTA nomination.

Elizabeth Shepherd portrayed Thatcher in the Canadian-produced TV movie Shades of Black: The Conrad Black Story in 2006.

In 2002, Italian actress Greta Scacchi played Thatcher in Jeffrey Archer: The Truth, a BBC One comedy that showed the former prime minister performing a striptease.

That same year, Thatcher was depicted by Patricia Hodge in The Falklands Play on BBC One.

Of the dozens of portrayals of Thatcher, though, one of the most memorable was by a man.

Steve Nallon provided the voice for the puppet version of the PM for 12 years on the ITV series Spitting Image.

On stage, several actresses played Thatcher in plays like 2010’s Handbagged and this year’s The Audience. The musical Billy Elliot features the song “Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher, penned by Elton John. She was also the subject of her own song-and-dance play, Thatcher – The Musical!.

Many artists have sung about Thatcher, too. Among them Paul McCartney (“All My Trials”), Elvis Costello (“Tramp the Dirt Down”) and Morrissey (“Margaret on the Guillotine”). A puppet version of Thatcher appeared in the video for the 1986 Genesis hit “Land of Confusion.”

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