Interesting TV: Washington Behind Closed Doors.

Before there was The West Wing, there was Washington: Behind Closed Doors. The 1977 six hour mini-series is a not very subtle dramatisation of Watergate under the presidency of Richard Monckton (Jason Robards), and boasts a panopoly of the big TV stars of the day including Robert Vaughn, Cliff Robertson, Stefanie Powers (before Hart to Hart) and a scene stealing Andy Griffith (who would later go on to play Matlock) as LBJ mirror image Esker Scott Anderson (“Hey, hey, ESA, how many kids you kill today?”). Curiously never released on DVD, it is available to see in full on Youtube, and whilst very melodramatic,  soapy and clunky by modern televison standards, quite enjoyable for the performances. One thing that really stands out are the “modern” spin techniques, thought ground breaking at the time, used in the fictional Monckton campaign, which we now take for granted.

Incidentally, it’s based on a novel, The Company, written by John Ehrlichman. Yes, that John Ehrlichman. Worth a look. 


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