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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Blunkett satire launches channel
Bernard Hill and Victoria Hamilton in A Very Social Secretary
Bernard Hill and Victoria Hamilton play Mr Blunkett and Ms Quinn
A satire of politician David Blunkett's affair with publisher Kimberly Quinn launches a digital channel next week.

Viewers will see Mr Blunkett portrayed as love struck in A Very Private Secretary which starts new digital entertainment channel More4 on Monday.

The drama will be broadcast despite concerns expressed by Mr Blunkett's lawyers who contacted Channel 4.

More4 says it will show "the best of documentaries, smart films, quality news and contemporary drama".

Quinn, the married publisher of The Spectator magazine, is played as a social climber, interested in Mr Blunkett only for his power, by Victoria Hamilton.

There's Blunkett and the human being and Blunkett the politician - at some point they got confused
Bernard Hill

Boys From The Blackstuff star Bernard Hill, playing Mr Blunkett, says he studied hours of video tapes of the former home secretary.

"There's Blunkett and the human being and Blunkett the politician - at some point they got confused," he said.

"But he's still a human being and still a bloke who deserves a certain amount of sympathy for the predicament he found himself in.

"He got dragged into a situation that I don't think he was equipped to handle."

'Champagne socialites'

In the drama, Tony and Cherie Blair are sent up by veteran actor Robert Lindsay and comedienne Doon Mackichan, best know for Smack The Pony.

Robert Lindsay and Bernard Hill as Tony Blair and David Blunkett
Tony Blair is played by My Family's Robert Lindsay

Writer Alistair Beaton, whose previous credits include Minder and Spitting Image, says he has explored how Mr Blunkett "became a metaphor for Tony Blair's unprincipled government".

"It's goodbye champagne socialists, hello champagne socialites," he said.

The drama was "a mixture of the trivial, the poignant and the very, very important", he added.

"I wanted to tell the story, I wanted to entertain, and I wanted to nail a few unpleasant truths."

Factual programming

More4, which has a 33m programme budget, is a companion service to Channel 4's existing digital network E4.

It is targeting over-35s with a schedule dominated by factual programming, drama and movies.

The latter include the UK TV premiere of Downfall, the Oscar-nominated German film about Hitler's last days, and Irish drama The Magdalene Sisters.

US imports include the new series of the sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm - previously seen on BBC Four - and the sixth series of White House drama The West Wing.

Other More4 programmes will include a dramatised documentary on animal experimentation, a documentary series by Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock and a late-night discussion programme, The Last Word.

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