Margaret Thatcher and Hollywood: How Entertainment Portrayed Prime Minister

Before her death, Elvis Costello wanted to stomp on her grave, but Meryl Streep gave sympathetic portrayal

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 1:17 PM

As England's first female prime minister and the former leader of its conservative movement, Margaret Thatcher drew both the fascination and contempt of the entertainment industry: Meryl Streep offered a sympathetic portrayal in "The Iron Lady," while Elvis Costello imagined stomping on her grave.

Thatcher, who died Monday at 87, was also a frequent target of satirists. In the 2002 satirical BBC comedy "Jeffrey Archer: The Truth," she was portrayed by Greta Scacchi, while future "Homeland" Emmy winner Damian Lewis played the title character.

Her politics stirred strong emotions from supporters and critics alike. Costello's "Tramp the Dirt Down" was one of many angry songs written about Thatcher.

The narrator longs to outlive Thatcher so that he might one day stand on her grave: "Because there's one thing I know, I'd like to live long enough to savour," he sings. "That's when they finally put you in the ground/I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down."

Costello had company. In 2011, Buzzfeed compiled a list of "21 Incredibly Angry Songs About Margaret Thatcher" from artists as diverse as Morrissey and Pink Floyd.

Here are some of the most notable portrayals of Thatcher from artist and entertainers.

"The Iron Lady"

Streep won an Oscar for her portrayal of Thatcher as a woman made of flesh and blood more than iron:

"Spitting Image"

The British series "Spitting Image" used grotesque puppets to lampoon political figures. (American audiences got to see the puppets at work in the 1986 Genesis video "Land of Confusion," featuring a groggy Ronald Reagan with his finger on the button). Here's the "Spitting Image" Thatcher in Parliament:

Elvis Costello – "Tramp the Dirt Down"

Though the melody is lovely, the words are harsh in this 1989 song that imagines the narrator helping pack the dirt over Thatcher's grave:

"Billy Elliot"- "Merry Christmas, Margaret Thatcher"

Following Costello's lead, the striking workers of the musical based on the 2000 film wish Thatcher a merry Christmas — because she's one day closer to death.

Pink Floyd – "The Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants"

Before Costello and "Billy Elliot" envisioned Thatcher's death, Roger Waters just wanted her to quietly go away. On the 1983 album "The Final Cut," he imagined a quiet place for retired tyrants, and imagined Thatcher among them: