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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Political Ad Breakdown II
By Brian Wheeler, BBC News

POSTED: Monday 11 April, 2100BST

Ad Breakdown is the Election Monitor's review of political adverts. Throughout the campaign we will be looking at the parties' posters, pages, and broadcasts and asking what's going on.

Epic tales of doomed romance with a metaphysical twist are what Anthony Minghella does best.

But even by the standards of The English Patient and Truly, Madly Deeply the director's latest project requires a leap of faith.

Labour PEB
Blair and Brown gaze fondly at each other as they talk of shared values

In tonight's Labour election broadcast, we are asked to forget everything we have ever read about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown - the feuding, the sulking, the blazing rows, the thwarted ambition - and bask in the warmth of a love re-kindled.

From the opening shot, of Mr Blair jotting down Labour's priorities - "1. economic stability" - as Mr Brown recalls how they shared an office together in the early days, the film is designed to reassure voters that all is well with their relationship - and that the country could not be in safer hands.

The two men are seen sitting late into the night, their voices overlapping as they recall how they reformed the Labour Party together. They gaze fondly at each other as they talk of their shared values ("I personally believe, and I know you do as well because we have talked about it," says Mr Brown on the subject of how all children are "special").

They are even shown sharing breakfast together, like a modern day Eric and Ernie

Mr Blair, mostly tieless and in shirt sleeves, talks about exciting concepts like "human capital" - the visionary, dynamic CEO to Mr Brown's sober-suited Finance Director.

It's OK to put more investment into public services, muses Mr Blair, "the question is how you sustain it."

"Growth" cuts in Mr Brown, ever the man for the figures.

What a team!

They are even shown sharing breakfast together, like a modern day Eric and Ernie (although it appears to be some kind of "power breakfast" as they are both wearing identical suits, and, unlike Morecambe and Wise, their "flat" appears to be decorated in Labour election posters).

Mr Blair does allude briefly to "difficulties" and "tensions" - "and there are a few from time to time" - but that is the only acknowledgment that they have ever had a cross word in the 22 years since they entered Parliament together.

Given what we've been told about their relationship, the broadcast does take some swallowing, but it is skilfully put together and - apart from the breakfast room episode, which sees the two sharing an identical breakfast (mug of tea, cereal, glass of orange juice) surprisingly naturalistic.

But ultimately, for all the arty, handheld camerawork, and Blair and Brown's talk of the future and the "next challenge for Great Britain", it is really just an updated version of that old political stand-by, the cosy fireside chat.

The acting was so wooden and false it should have been sponsored by Cuprinol, and there was me thinking this type of sugary,sickly marketing ploy only occured in the states.
Rob Burgoyne, Wilmslow, Cheshire

I found it strange how Tony Blair's tie keeps coming on and off - it looks like a blooper.
Markus Jones, Liverpool, UK

I think it's quite effective. They look geniunely like they work together. In the days of total media coverage of almost everything minute by minute, what do we expect? Of course it's false, of course it's projecting an image, but it shows that they can be in the same room together.
Doug, London, UK

Sometimes during a romantic film I find myself yelling, "KISS!" at the television. I never thought I'd see the day when I was doing it to a Party Political Broadcast...
Helen, Cambridge, UK

Whenever I read comments, reports or reviews like this I really wonder if the reviewer is only trotting out their own predudices looking at the 'colour of the ties' rather than the message of the policies being given. It is a political campaign not an attempt to win an oscar for best film, I really believe your reveiwers do not understand the differnce.
Dave Pike, Milton Keynes

Personality-driven party political broadcasts drive me up the wall, but they do seem to have a greater effect than facts and figures in the general public, so maybe we're getting the election broadcasts we deserve.
David Patrick, Reading, UK

Reminds me of Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. Alas, Blair & Brown.
Ollie, Ghent, Belgium

To quote Whistler: 'You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.'
Ray Burke, Stockport

It came as a revelation to me while watching this that labour were using the opportunity to advertise companies which may or may not be assisting in their bid for another term. I spotted two pieces of blatant product placement - both Gap and Highland Spring water must be quite pleased with themselves.
Matt, Manchester

I thought Bremner, Bird & Fortune was on Sunday night - my mistake.
Dean, Hythe, Kent

Was it an audition tape for the next round of Nescafe ads?
Paul, Putney

Dear oh dear. Even though Alistair has gone, those giant media cogs keep on grinding. I, and a lot of people I know, were hoping for a little less 'personalisation' in this election and some more promises that at least seem keepable. Who cares if Blair and Brown are mates? I want them to run our country and run it well. Less of the media savvy archetypes and more substance please lads...
Gavin Mitchell, Loughborough

Stephen McCullough, Perth, Australia

Brilliant, the funniest thing I have seen on TV for a long time. Keep it up Tony & Gordon, you may well get your own sitcom.
Lee, Basingstoke, UK

Very funny. Top comedy. Took several minutes to realise it really was Tony and Gordon. Can't wait for the next one. They get my vote if they can do one of these every week.
Tonowicz, Brighton

Brown kept putting his on/taking off his jacket (off screen) and Blair's tie also went on and off.
Chris Jenkins, Haywards Heath

Just a few words in response to Stephen McCullough's 'pathetic' comment...this from a country that elects John Howard?
Damon Marshall, Manchester

Neighbours everybody needs good neighbours, with a little help and understanding. We could have a better NHS!
MARK N, london uk

I thought it hit the spot perfectly. Who's the target audience - middle England - what's the message - we've built a stong base but that's just the start we need to keep on going to ensure it carries on and guess what someone's listened and it didn't really take a pop at the tories - positive, strong, warm, confident and together, for those who don't really give a flying fig about politics this was just the kind of comforting film to get them out for Labour. That's what advertising's about isn't it, forget what you already know about the product actually it's lovely - look. Of course all these correspondents thought it was, pathetic. They would have said the same whatever the film had been.
Crispin Heath, London

I think Tony and Brown make a good team and truely wants to move the country forward. Though funny clip but the message is clear. They are better looking than the others- Tories & Liberal
Roland Waf, Nigeria

I agree with Crispin H. The most important thing about the broadcast is the message. Ignore who's wearing a tie and what colour it is or who ate what in the breakfast clip. Without a strong sustainable economy, we would all be suffering 16% interest rates again, rampant inflation, stikes etc. Listen to the message, respect the politics, Blair and Brown aren't looking for an Oscar.
Mike R, London

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