First Among Equals

First Among Equals

infobox Book |
name = First Among Equals
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = Jeffrey Archer
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Political novel
publisher = Simon & Schuster
release_date = 1984
media_type = Print (Hardback, Paperback)
pages = 415 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-671-50406-1
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"First Among Equals" is a 1984 novel by British author Jeffrey Archer, that follows the careers and personal lives of four British politicians (Simon Kerslake, Charles Hampton, Raymond Gould and Andrew Fraser) from 1964 to 1991, each vying to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Several situations in the novel are drawn from the author's own early political career in the British House of Commons, and the fictional characters interact with actual British politicians of the day, including Winston Churchill, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, and others, including Douglas Hurd, Colonel Gadaffi, Gary Hart and Queen Elizabeth II.

The Title is a literal translation of the Latin term Primus inter pares, a term used to refer to either the most senior member of a group of equals (peers) or to refer to someone who claims to be just one member of a group of equals when in reality he or she completely dominates said group.

Plot introduction

Different characters become Prime Minister in the British and American editions of the book; Archer explained that this was because he found that readers in the two countries were not cheering for the same character to win. The British version also includes a Scottish Member of Parliament that the American version omits, perhaps due to the lack of knowledge that this audience has of more than two (Conservative and Labour) British political parties.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

A ten-part miniseries, produced by Granada Television, aired on ITV in 1986. Granada constructed a full-scale replica set of the House of Commons chamber for the production, which for many years formed a central part of their Granada Studios Tour attraction, where visitors could see mock debates being performed on the set by actors. The set was also often used by other television productions wanting to set scenes in the Commons chamber, and in 2002 was purchased by the scriptwriter Paul Abbott so that it could be used in his BBC drama serial "State of Play". Abbott, himself a former Granada Television staff writer, bought it personally as the set would otherwise have been destroyed and he feared it would take too long to get the necessary money from the BBC. He currently keeps it in storage in Oxford.ref|ref01

Sequences set in the fictional Northumbrian constituency of Redfern were actually filmed, much closer to Granada studios, in Lancashire at Entwistle railway station and at the Barlow Institute, Edgworth.

The miniseries also used different names for real life politicians.

US and UK Plot Differences

The initial US version differed from the UK release with the drop of the major character of Andrew Fraser. As a result, several plot elements revolving around him were put onto other characters, notably Simon Kerslake, who suffered through a change of heart in marriage and the loss of a child in the US edition, while they were suffered by Andrew Frasier in the UK edition. Also notable is the character who influences the final Prime Minister decision. The UK edition is probably more true to form in terms of Andrew playing kingmaker, though Archer copped out in that edition by failing to acknowledge the price Andrew would have extracted for a coalition government. In addition, the US books goes into more detail regarding the UK government and how it works. It serves as a tutorial to the basics of UK parliament.


# Abbott, Paul. Audio commentary on the DVD release of "State of Play". BBC Worldwide. BBCDVD 1493.

External links

* [ Jeffrey Archer's official website]

ee also

*Charles Gurney Hampton
*Simon Kerslake
*Raymond Gould
*Andrew Fraser

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • first among equals — I (the) first among equals the person or thing having the highest status in a group II (the) first among equals see equal * * * first among equals see ↑first, 1 • • • …   Useful english dictionary

  • first among equals — the best or most important of a similar group. The solo violin was first among equals in the midst of all the stringed instruments. Because she is the chairman of the committee, she is, of course, first among equals …   New idioms dictionary

  • first among equals — noun a) A person or position that if formally equivalent to others in a group, but is superior in some attribute. The value of First Among Equals lies in its attempt to set out systematically the major roles played by prime ministers, and to… …   Wiktionary

  • first among equals — best within a group of people with equal ability …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Andrew Fraser (First Among Equals) — Andrew Fraser is a fictional character in the political novel First Among Equals, by Jeffrey Archer. He is a British politician of the Labour Party and later the Social Democratic Party (SDP).Fraser was the son of a Scottish Conservative… …   Wikipedia

  • be first among equals — to officially be on the same level as other members in a group, but in fact have slightly more responsibility or be slightly more important. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff was always considered first among equals …   New idioms dictionary

  • First Among Sequels — Infobox Book name = First Among Sequels title orig = translator = image caption = UK First Edition cover author = Jasper Fforde cover artist = country = United Kingdom language = English series = Thursday Next series subject = genre = Alternate… …   Wikipedia

  • first — first1 W1S1 [fə:st US fə:rst] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(in a series)¦ 2 for the first time 3¦(main)¦ 4 in the first place 5 in the first instance 6 at first glance/sight 7 first things first 8 (at) first hand 9 first prize/place …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • First Council of Constantinople — For the church council of Constantinople in 359, see First Council of Constantinople (360). 9th century Byzantine manuscript illumination of I Constantinople Homilies of Gregory Nazianzus, 879 882 …   Wikipedia

  • first — number BEFORE 1 before anything or anyone else: She reached the top of the hill first. | It s mine, I saw it first. see firstly 2 the first someone or something that is before other people or things : be (the) first to do sth: My sister said I d… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.