Boris Johnson and Liz Truss won't inspire Love Actually 2, but UK will see better, more hopeful times return – Susan Dalgety

It’s Christmas movie season, and every household will be reaching for their favourite festive film. Elf is pretty popular in our house, as is that old classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

In Love Actually, Hugh Grant is a young Prime Minister who falls in love with a Downing Street tea lady, played by Martine McCutcheon (Picture: Alessandro Abbonizio/AFP via Getty Images)
In Love Actually, Hugh Grant is a young Prime Minister who falls in love with a Downing Street tea lady, played by Martine McCutcheon (Picture: Alessandro Abbonizio/AFP via Getty Images)

But I’m not big fan of the ever-popular Love Actually, the cheesy British rom-com with nine different stories sharing a common theme – love. I found it too messy and ridden with clichés. Only the magnificent Bill Nighy, who plays an ageing rock star, captured my heart.

That makes me pretty unusual. The film, directed and written by Richard Curtis and with a host of stars, such as Hugh Grant, Emma Thomson and Colin Firth, has remained a global phenomenon since its 2003 release.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is consistently the top Christmas film in France, Italy and 17 other countries, and attracts an astonishing 887,000 worldwide searches a month. On Wednesday, ABC, one of America’s top networks, will air a TV special to celebrate the movie’s forthcoming 20th anniversary.

Hosted by the legendary presenter Diane Sawyer, the show will hear from Love Actually stars including Grant, whose character was a handsome, young Prime Minister who fell in love with a Downing Street tea lady, played by Martine McCutcheon. Back in 2003, when Tony Blair was in Number 10, the economy was growing and optimism, rather than despair, was in the air, it didn’t seem too outlandish for a romantic comedy to feature a sexy PM.

Imagine making the same film today with a Boris Johnson character, or – heaven forbid – a short-lived romance between a Liz Truss double and a Downing Street butler. It would be a horror show.

Amid the very real despair of the cost-of-living crisis, it is hard to imagine a time when Britain – and its Prime Minster – was cool, and people could switch on their heating without worrying about whether it would bankrupt them. Those times will come back again. Slowly.

Our economy will rebuild itself, the war in Ukraine will end, hopefully soon, with its courageous people triumphant, and Covid will be just another miserable cold.

In the meantime, wrap yourself in a blanket, pour yourself a cup of tea (or glass of mulled wine) and lose yourself in your favourite Christmas movie. Even if it is Love Actually.