Impeachment: American Crime Story review - This BBC drama verges on panto in sensational look at sleaze and scandal in the Clinton White House

Given recent occupants of the White House, it’s tempting to look back at the sex and sleaze scandals which engulfed the presidency of Bill Clinton in the 90s as ‘the good old days’.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 5:00 pm

Impeachment: American Crime Story (BBC2, Tues, 9pm) certainly treated it with a hefty dollop of camp glee. The woman are all heavily made-up, with big shoulder pads and even bigger hair, while the men are dressed in designer suits and those ghastly floral silk ties which seemed to be all the rage back then.

This week’s first episode centred on Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), who was to become a star witness in the legal proceedings against Clinton, in the fall-out of his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Tripp had a PA job in the White House counsel’s office, close to the centre of power, before her boss’s suicide and a reshuffle sees her shunted to the Pentagon and the margins of Washington gossip.

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Beanie Feldstein starred as Monica Lewinsky in the new drama Impeachment: American Crime Story on BBC2

As played by Paulson, she comes across as an awful woman, who will do anything to get back in the West Wing.

IN PICTURES: When Bill Clinton visited Blackpool.When she is moved sideways – and told in no uncertain terms it’s because no one likes her – you can see the resentment boiling off her like steam from a simmering saucepan; poor, naive Monica (Beanie Feldstein) doesn’t stand a chance.

There are names and events here that may sound familiar, but are difficult to place if, like me, you didn’t pay attention to 90s US politics, and the tone edges close to panto at times. But it’s got a knife-like edge as it lays into the way women are treated by men – politicians, husbands, bosses – and the expectations they must meet.

Something which– if the 45th president is anything to go by – has yet too change in the White House.

More US politics, this time of a more serious kind, and Four Hours at the Capitol (BBC2, Weds, 9pm) was a shocking, handheld look inside the January 6 insurrection. A frightening 90 minutes.

Drama of a slightly tamer kind was to be found in the finale of Hollington Drive (ITV, Weds, 9pm). Although this drama promised much, the end was a weak affair, which left only disappointment.