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Margaret Thatcher celebrates 85 years

Major British event trumps miner Chilean drama

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Those of you who are glued to live coverage of the Chilean mine rescue have probably not had time to raise a toast to Baroness Thatcher, who is today celebrating her 85th birthday.

Indeed, the woman who did so much for the British coal industry will be returning to 10 Downing Street for a knees-up just as the 33 trapped miners are winched to the surface.

The "non-partisan, centre-right, libertarian" Freedom Association humbly genuflects before Thatcher, enthusing: "We would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the wonderful work she has done, not only for Britain, but specifically for The Freedom Association. We are very proud that we can count Mrs Thatcher as one of our strongest supporters right from the very start, when we were founded to combat the trade unions in 1975."

As we previously reported, Meryl Streep is in the frame to play the Iron Lady in a dramatisation of the 17 days leading up to the 1982 Falklands War. Having warmed up on Galtieri, Thatcher then turned her attention to a far more fearsome foe - Arthur Scargill.

The result of that 1984-5 scrap was that Blighty was left pretty well minerless, and it has fallen to our Falkands War chum Chile to provide a subterreanean drama which will itself doubtless be hitting the silver screen shortly.

It remains to be seen whether Thatcher! or Alive II: Hell Pit of Atacama! proves the greater box-office draw. Our money's on the latter, as long as Antonio Banderas can be persuaded to join the underground cast, with Penelope Cruz as his tearful topside missus. ®

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