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5 of the best on-screen Presidents of the United States

To celebrate the release of Designated Survivor: The Complete Second Season DVD on Monday 1st October (from eOne) and the news that it will be back for a third season, we take a look at our favourite on-screen Presidents who have a lot to live up to… given real life is sometimes much stranger than fiction.

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood

It’s not exactly known yet where the next series of House Of Cards is going to go, following the departure of former star Kevin Spacey, who played Frank Underwood, but it was perfectly setup with Claire in the main role at the end of Season 5. So if speculation is what we’re going by, she’ll follow in her husband’s footsteps and ascend to the throne. More power to Wright and Mrs Underwood too – as Frank descended into caricature in recent series, Claire’s steely resolve and ruthless ambition was not only more intriguing than her partner’s, it was more plausible too.

Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman

Kiefer Sutherland, who went from big to smaller screen with consummate ease as Jack Bauer, has gone from ensuring the president’s safety in 24 to actually running the show in Designated Survivor. After finding himself at the helm following a brutal attack that slaughtered pretty much every minister in the US government, he has grown into the role despite many initial misgivings in the first series. But in the second, the challenges facing him and his team soon pile up. He’s facing everything from continued terrorist threat to problems penning a speech any the light-hearted White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Oh, and there’s still the small matter of catching the perpetrators of the attack that put him in charge…

Martin Sheen as Jed Bartlet

And, as each day of Donald J Trump’s presidency day passes with another wealth of preposterous tweets and dysfunctional behaviour that shames and embarrasses many Americans, so people look wistfully to Martin Sheen’s sympathetic leader in seminal US TV series The West Wing and think “Why oh why, can’t President Bartlet be in charge?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Hillary may have not made it in real life, but, as ever, when the public wants something it can always turn to TV… And thus The Thick Of It creator Armando Ianucci turned to the US after the UK, skewering labyrinthine machinations in Washington DC for a similarly biting political satire, Veep. Julia Louis-Drefus furthers its impeccable credentials starring as Selina Meyer, who makes her way to the top job after a stint as the title Vice President. Ousted after Machiavellian plotting, she will be back in the saddle and running for top job again come 2019 for the seventh and final outing of this fine comedy…

Aaron Eckhart as Benjamin Asher


Aah, the dear old action film. The President has long been a mainstay of not-quite-straight-to-video, not quite blockbuster action fare for years, from Donald Pleasence’s president trapped in a city turned into a jail (Escape From New York) to Bill Pullman’s unlikely fighter pilot turned leader taking on aliens in Independence Day. Most recent has been Aaron Eckhart, who also gets to show off his action chops alongside his secret agent protector Gerard Butler, first in the White House itself (Olympus Has Fallen) and then on foreign soil (London Has Fallen). Eckhart will be replaced as the leader of the free world in the next instalment, Angel Has Fallen, with Morgan Freeman, a true president in waiting if ever there was one, due at cinemas in 2019…

Designated Survivor: The Complete Second Season comes to DVD on 1 October

Order here: https://amzn.to/2xLgXpK

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