Absolute Power. Image shows from L to R: Charles Prentiss (Stephen Fry), Martin McCabe (John Bird). Copyright: BBC
Absolute Power

Absolute Power

  • Radio sitcom
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2000 - 2006
  • 22 episodes (4 series)

Meet masters of spin Charles Prentiss and Martin McCabe, the morally corrupt owners of Prentiss McCabe Government-Media Relations Consultancy. Stars Stephen Fry, John Bird, Siobhan Hayes, Tom George, Tony Gardner and more.

  • Series 1, Episode 2 repeated Friday at 11pm on Radio 4 Extra

Key details

2000 - 2006
BBC Radio 4
22 (4 series)
Mark Tavener
Stephen Fry, John Bird, Siobhan Hayes, Tom George, Tony Gardner, Alex Lowe, Tamsin Greig, Beth Chalmers and David Timson
Mark Tavener
Dawn Ellis and Paul Schlesinger

The amoral Charles Prentiss (Stephen Fry) and the unmotivated Martin McCabe (John Bird) are former high-flying TV commissioners at the BBC.

Regular characters in earlier programmes from writer Mark Tavener (such as In The Red), they were responsible for getting rid of most of the corporation's staff.

However, Charles and Marty were so successful at getting rid of people they found themselves redundent at the Beeb. Now they have gone into business together and formed "Prentiss McCabe", a government-media relations consultancy, designed to help with any kind of government project, no matter what it is - so long as there is money in it.

Absolute Power follows Prentiss McCabe take on various projects, from trying to increase sales of The Sun to helping an American get his wish of having a socialist mayor of London. However, just as they get to grips with the problem, trouble always comes in the form of Archie Hilditch (Tony Gardner, Alex Lowe), a faceless member of Tony Blair's New Labour Government who always wants them to do the opposite for an even larger sum. This results in Charles and Martin attempting to please both sides in order to make as much cash as possible.

Additional details

Power tends to corrupt - absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Website links

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Wednesday 5th January 2000 at 6:30pm on BBC Radio 4
Next repeats
  1. Series 1, Episode 2: Friday at 11pm on Radio 4 Extra
  2. Series 1, Episode 3: Friday 8th March at 11pm on Radio 4 Extra
Most recent repeats
  • Friday 23rd February 2024 at 11:00pm on Radio 4 Extra - Series 1, Episode 1
  • Sunday 5th September 2021 at 3:30am on Radio 4 Extra - Series 4, Episode 4
  • Saturday 4th September 2021 at 3:30pm on Radio 4 Extra - Series 4, Episode 4

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