Picks and Pans Review: To Play the King

updated 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Sun., Jan. 16, 9 p.m. ET)

A

As if Bob Packwood hadn't done enough to tarnish the reputation of politicians, Francis Urquhart is back. In this scintillating sequel to House of Cards, Urquhart (played once again with brilliant sangfroid by Ian Richardson) is firmly entrenched as Britain's prime minister. But he's rankled by the new monarch, the slightly eccentric but outspoken king (Michael Kitchen) who has recently ascended to the throne. "You'd think he'd be happy," says Urquhart, "to wave from the balcony and keep his opinions to himself."

Urquhart sets about schooling the new king in how brutal political hardball can be. Still, the prime minister faces serious setbacks and a crucial betrayal as he attempts to consolidate his power base.

It all keeps Urquhart—"FU" as the Fleet Street headline writers refer lo him—very busy indeed over these four Sundays. Or as Richardson confides to the camera in one of his delicious Machiavellian soliloquies, "No rest for the wicked."

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