Politics is one of those subjects that programme-makers and audiences can’t get enough of, no matter what the country. Whether it’s American politics, with shows like The West Wing and Parks and Recreation tackling politics at every level, Borgen predicting the election of the first Danish female Prime Minister, or The Thick of It managing to pre-empt British political stories by mere days, tales of those in charge are irresistible. We want to imagine what goes on behind the scenes in the corridors of power.
Sometimes, what we get isn’t as reassuring as we might hope.
There’s more than a touch of the Shakespearean to House of Cards: perhaps unsurprising, given that Ian Richardson was one of the most prominent Shakespearean actors in the country. Francis Urquhart is Richard III brought up to date in a three-piece suit, manipulating all around him as he rises to power (see also: his disavowal of ruling aspirations). On a more structural level, Urquhart is reminiscent of Richard III in his constant addresses to camera, drawing the audience in and making us complicit in his scheming.
The American remake has had two seasons, and has just aired its third on Netflix. But for a more British take on the lengths men can go to for power, check out the original TV show now (it's also on Netflix, so you've got no excuse).