My career is over! Political fiction is dead. After decades of delving into make-believe, I can't see how it can ever again match what's going on out there. On the other hand, perhaps we're simply watching politicians desperately auditioning for parts in Series 5. It seems everyone is a fan of House of Cards.
House of Cards has transformed my life. Throughout all the creative and political excitement that has filled my life over the past decades (and if you're in a hurry you can see 'Dobbs in a Nutshell' by clicking on this link) my most loyal companion has been FU – you'll know him as Francis Urquhart or Frank Underwood, depending on your accent. He's recognised throughout the world.
Not so long ago I met with President Xi of China. I decided to mark the occasion by giving him a hardback copy of the original book, now almost thirty years old. They're not so easy to find, but I signed and dedicated it. He shook my hand as I passed it to him. Then his brow clouded. 'What?' he said. 'You have House of Cards in this country, too?'
Then I got a message from the small central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan. 'Dear Michael, we love your House of Cards. We are far too poor to pay for it so we steal it from the Russians. We wish to complain. They have dubbed it very badly.'
AUTHOR, BROADCASTER, LORD…
You can't please everyone. But those extraordinary guys and gals at Netflix aren't far off it. We are in the middle of a television revolution, with more quality drama than ever. It's being called the Golden Age of Television and House of Cards is leading the way. The wonderful team led by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright has won all sorts of Emmy and Golden Globe awards. Some things just go on getting better.
I'm told that the novels aren't bad, either. They're published worldwide in about 30 different languages. You can get an updated edition here. Some believe my Harry Jones novels are even better. And Boris Johnson seems to like them, as you can see by clicking this link
WORDS, NOT SWORDS: Isn't it great news that the House of Cards series is being enjoyed by millions in China and Russia, as well as Europe and the US? While our political leaders seem to find ever more to disagree about, those cultural links being enjoyed by ordinary people in every corner of the globe become even more important. They give us something in common. That makes me an optimist.
So I travel around the world trying to cheer people up. Why be so bloody miserable when you can pick up a good book or watch a great television drama? There's some of that on the link to the bottom right. And if you missed the Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture I gave to the Royal Television Society about the Future of Public Service Broadcasting, you can watch it here.
OK, I know I said that my career is over. I lied. I'm busier than ever. Series 5 will be out sometime next year and there are plenty more projects under way. Thanks for joining in.
Michael receiving the lifetime achievement
at the political book awards.