By Tom Gliatto
January 29, 1996 12:00 PM

PBS (Sun., Feb. 4, 9 p.m. ET)

A+

In this two-part British thriller, Ian Richardson returns for a third and last time as Francis Urquhart, the most diabolical prime minister in British history. Having built a career or blood, sweat and more blood—this PM readily stoops to murder—the 65-year-old Urquhart now has no greater aim than to hold on to office beyond Maggie Thatcher’s record 12-year tenure. How ever, unexpected challenges arise from ambitious whelps within the party, and evidence turns up linking Urquhart to a war crime in Cyprus during the Suez Crisis of 1956. The loops and turns of the story are outrageously entertaining. Richardson is ruthless yet lightly comic, combining the corroded soul of Nixon with the slim grace of Astaire. It’s a classic performance.

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