Meet The Characters Of The Politician's Husband: No. 1 - Aiden Hoynes

As the gripping new political drama from the pen of Paula Milne, The Politician's Husband, begins tonight, we'll be posting an introduction to the various characters that you will meet over the next three weeks.

First up, it's disgraced cabinet minister Aiden Hoynes.

Aiden Hoynes

Played by David Tennant

The son of a Professor of Political Philosophy at the LSE, politics is in his blood stream: when we initially meet him he is considered to be a rising star in Westminster.

He went into Parliament he was driven by idealism but after his son Noah was diagnosed with Asperger's he allowed himself to be sucked in the power games of Westminster. It was somewhere to hide.

David Tennant on Aiden:

He’s a member of the cabinet and he’s very well regarded. He’s clearly seen as a potential leader of the future. It’s probably not helpful to find real-life political candidates to cast him as – I didn’t base him on one particular individual (which is probably just as well because I don’t think that would have done anyone any favours!). But he’s certainly a man who’s doing very well for himself.

So at the start of the story he feels that his moment has come, that the Prime Minister of the day is not performing as he might, and that this is his moment. He stands up in the House and argues that the Prime Minister’s immigration policies are xenophobic and that the PM’s position is effectively untenable. How much of that is driven by ideology, and how much of it is a power play? That’s a very grey area, really – it’s hard to say where one ends and the other begins. But the policy may be slightly less important than what he’s trying to achieve by wielding it.

Aiden has a very solid marriage with Freya, played by the magnificent Emily Watson. She’s also an MP and doing quite well for herself, though she’s playing second fiddle to Aiden, who is the high flier. But they work very well together and they’ve always supported each other. In fact we learn quite early on that she writes Aiden’s speeches. They have two kids, Noah and Ruby, and a very happy family life. It’s made slightly difficult by the fact that Noah has Asperger’s and struggles a little bit with his parents’ public, high-stress lifestyle, but they manage to cope and they have a support network around them. But when the wave of support they expected to carry Aiden to his coronation evaporates in front of him, the roles are reversed. Aiden loses his frontbench job and Freya finds herself brought into the cabinet. And a marriage which had seemed so strong and impregnable suddenly finds that its fault lines have been exposed, and they have to cope with this very different power structure within their relationship.

There is an aggressive streak in Aiden that emerges too. But then again he’s a man who is pushed quite far. He has had everything, and suddenly he has nothing. So I think it’s quite understandable that when he’s pushed into a corner, he comes out snarling and biting. As things go on, however, we find that Aiden and Freya aren’t quite the golden couple they believed themselves to be, and that comes out quite violently within their relationship at one point, and in quite a shocking way.

Paula Milne says:

David’s performance is particularly brave, because Aiden is a pretty irredeemable character. And for an actor like David who carries such a legacy of goodwill and love from an audience, it’s quite a brave thing to play a character like that. 

Watch episode 1 of The Politician's Husband on BBC Two tonight from 9pm