Tony Blair on trial tonight (and in April)

Prime Minister Tony Blair faces trial by both theatre and television as he prepares to step down and the debate over his role in the Iraq war intensifies.

Tonight, Channel 4 presents “The Trial of Tony Blair” which portrays future events as the Prime Minister leaves office after more than a decade in power.

It is some time in the future. Gordon Brown is moving in. President Clinton is looking for her second term in the White House. And Tony Blair has swapped the corridors of power for carpet swatches in his home in Connaught Square.

Says writer Alistair Beaton: “I gather Mr Blair is very concerned about his place in history. This film is my idea of where that place might be. Whether it’s fiction or prediction remains to be seen.”

Later this spring, Tricycle Theatre, with a reputation for political plays based on real-life trials and inquiries, is staging “Called to Account: The Indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the Crime of Aggression Against Iraq – a Hearing“.

The play will be based on a debate between two leading lawyers — Philippe Sands for the prosecution and Julian Knowles for the defence. Both belong to the same law practice as Blair’s wife, Cherie Booth. They will examine witnesses including parliamentarians, diplomats, UN officials, lawyers and intelligence experts.

Richard Norton-Taylor, a journalist at the Guardian newspaper, will condense the transcript from the lawyers’ debate into a play, which will run from April 19 to May 19.

Reuters previews both productions

And, if some light relief is required, the Prime Ministers old band, Ugly Rumours, have apparently reformed to release a single. Watch a trailer here and go here for more info.