Brian Cox sheds light on Winston Churchill's difficult relationship with Dundee

Friday, 12th January 2018, 11:17 am
Updated Friday, 12th January 2018, 11:17 am
New film about Winston Churchill's early years as Prime Minister, Darkest Hour, is released today (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ahead of the release of Winston Churchill drama film Darkest Hour, we recall actor Brian Cox's amusing family tale of the Prime Minister

In 1922 Winston Churchill lost his seat as an MP in Dundee.

Distraught, but not defeated, the typically witty Churchill quipped that he left Dundee "without an office, without a seat, without a party and without an appendix."

Dundee-born actor Brian Cox played the wartime Prime Minister in 2017 historical drama, Churchill (Photo: Shutterstock)

In the lead up to his defeat, the bulldog-like statesman was suffering from appendicitis and was on the verge of leaving a divided Liberal Party.

Dundee-born actor Brian Cox played the wartime Prime Minister last year in historical drama, Churchill.

Speaking to the i newspaper ahead of the film's release last year, Cox recalled how the suffering MP didn't receive any sympathy from local Dundonians during a career low point.

‘I’ll give you twa if you drap him'

“I remember my uncle had this story about Churchill,” Cox recalled.

“Churchill was ill at the time and [...] he lost his seat.

“They brought him through on an armchair, and they brought him up the steps of the Caird Hall.

“My uncle said, ‘Aye, I remember him coming up the stairs. There were four guys carryin' him' and he shouted ‘How much did he pay ya?’

"They shouted back, ‘A quid!’ And he said, ‘I’ll give you twa if you drap him.’”

Falling from grace

Despite Churchill's initial popularity in Dundee, he began to lose face with the city's residents.

Two years into his tenure, Churchill responded to miners' strikes in Wales by sending in armed forces - a response that would not have gone down well with the predominantly working class Dundee.

According to Brian Cox, Churchill paid four men to carry him up the steps of Dundee's Caird Hall in an armchair while suffering from appendicitis (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following the First World War, he antagonised his relationship with the Dundee's large Irish population by sending troops to their homeland, and then failed to back the women's suffrage movement.

On top of this, Dundonians were resentful of the politician for his extended absences from the city, with many suggesting that Churchill purposely flaunted his wealth upon visits to the city of Discovery.

A difficult relationship

The local lack of fondness for Churchill was reciprocated by the MP, who struggled with the city's conditions.

In a letter to his wife during his tenure he wrote, "This city will kill me. Halfway through my kipper this morning an enormous maggot crawled out and flashed his teeth at me.

"Such are the penalties which great men pay in the service of their country."

In 1922, Dundonians elected pro-Prohibition candidate Edwin Scrimgeour.

Churchill finished a distant fourth and kept his victorious Vs to himself.

Darkest Hour is out in cinemas today