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My wife and I love a good Trollope. By Gyles Brandreth

Regulars | By Gyles Brandreth

Trollope on TV: Susan Hampshire in The Pallisers. BBC images.

We’re so obsessed with the novelist that we fought over a single copy of The Way We Live Now

Sir Alec Douglas-Home had a passion for flower-arranging. Harold Wilson adored the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist and recreational bricklayer. Gordon Brown once invited me to an evening of poetry-reading in Downing Street. Whenever I visited Sir Edward Heath at his home in Salisbury Close, he talked as much about music and sailing and orchids as he did about politics. Heath was especially proud of his orchids. ‘Fidel gave me the orchids, you know,’ he’d say, his shoulders heaving happily. Castro also sent him a fine box of Cuban cigars every Christmas. To remain happy beyond your political heyday, a prime minister needs a passion beyond politics. That was Margaret Thatcher’s problem. Politics were her life. My wife and I were lucky enough to get to know her during her retirement. She had many wonderful qualities, though no great sense of humour (I always...


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