American presidents and headlines go together like apple pie and custard. From Abe Lincoln having his night at the theatre ruined, to Bill Clinton’s – ahem – indiscretions, rarely has it been plain sailing for a commander-in-chief. Ronald Reagan was no different, and this week you can find out more about his 1981 assassination attempt by watching the gripping one-off drama Killing Reagan.
This fascinating two-hour drama is based on the controversial book of the same name by US political commentator Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It sheds light on the events leading up to the incident (which saw unhinged loner John Hinckley Jr shoot Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel) and its aftermath, including the political turmoil within the White House as doubts over the president’s health grew.
But this incredible true story is just one reason why you need to tune in. With superb performances from Tim Matheson (The West Wing) and Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Ronald and his doting wife Nancy, plus a fine supporting cast and stylish cinematography, this recreation of a pivotal moment in US history is not to be missed.
In the mood to see more presidents portrayed on screen? Take a look below at some choice picks you can catch on Virgin TV this week…
For an inspirational biopic…
Watch Barry. Find it on Netflix
Newcomer Devon Terrell stars as a young Barack Obama in this critically acclaimed Netflix Original based around the outgoing president’s early years. Dealing with issues of identity, cultural change, prejudice and ambition, this revealing drama paints a whole new picture of Obama.
For a quirky comedy drama…
Watch Elvis & Nixon, available to rent on Virgin Movies. Also available in HD. Cert 15
Did you know that Elvis Presley wangled his way into the White House in 1970 to try to convince President Nixon to make him a narcotics agent? Yes, it actually happened, and this 2016 comedy drama starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey brings the whole crazy meeting to life.
For an Oscar-winning performance…
Watch Lincoln, Friday 20 January, Film4/HD (CH 428/429)
As heavyweight political dramas go, this one weighs a tonne. Daniel Day-Lewis leads an all-star cast in this excellent study of the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, Steven Spielberg directs.
For an oddball comedy…
Watch Donald Trump’s The Art Of The Deal: The Movie. Find it on Netflix
Loosely (and we mean very loosely) based around Donald Trump’s bestselling biographical business guide. Johnny Depp takes on the role of the USA’s incoming president in this ridiculous – but amazingly brilliant – parody.
Watch Killing Reagan, a one-off special airing on Sunday 8th January at 8pm on National Geographic (CH 266) + National Geographic HD (CH 268). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > National Geographic