Gordon Brown delivered what one colleague described as "the speech of his life" at the Labour conference in Manchester, amidst some of the worst poll ratings ever recorded for a British prime minister.
In a surprise move the prime minister's wife introduced him and helped soften the atmosphere.
Mr Brown admitted mistakes over
abolition of the 10p tax rate and shrugged off complaints about his dour style. He said: "If people say I'm too serious, quite honestly there is a lot to be
Gordon Brown joked to conference that he didn't come into politics to be a celebrity or expecting to be popular all the time. He added: "Perhaps it's just as well."
One Gordon Brown fan made her feelings known amongst the hundreds of delegates, politicians and press.
Many of the Cabinet members watching his performance later fanned out across numerous media outlets and praised the prime minister and his speech.
Gordon Brown promised to scrap
prescription charges for people with cancer and ease the burden of care home bills
on the elderly.
Some thought that Gordon Brown's attack on any "novice" hoping to take on his job included his foreign secretary David Miliband.
Gordon Brown was joined on stage by his wife Sarah at the end of his speech - it remains to be seen whether he has done enough to end questions over his leadership.