absolute power audiobook review
Podcasts and Audiobooks > Comedy

Absolute Power Audiobook Review



Absolute Power by Mark Tavener is more than just an audiobook; it’s a thought-provoking, humour-infused exploration of complex themes that continue to be pertinent. As listeners dive into the satirical world Tavener created, they find themselves amused, enlightened, and prompted to reflect on the media’s and political landscape’s intricacies.


This is my go-to audiobook. If you ever see me in the London underground with earphones in, I listen to this; it’s my absolute favourite and always picks me up in the morning. I really can’t recommend this enough. However, please do try for yourself. You won’t regret it,

In a world governed by perceptions, “Absolute Power” by Mark Tavener emerges as an engaging audiobook series that delves into the heart of public relations with a satirical edge. The BBC Radio 4 series, articulated through the compelling performances of Stephen Fry and John Bird, unveils the professional odysseys of Charles Prentiss and Martin McCabe, the master spin doctors at London’s ‘government-media relations consultancy Prentiss McCabe. The narrative is set against the Machiavellian theatre of modern PR, where every manoeuvre is a calculated gambit aimed at swaying public opinion.

The Heart of Narrative: Character Dynamics

Central to the narrative are the characters of Charles Prentiss and Martin McCabe, whose camaraderie, contrasting personalities, and Machiavellian prowess in manipulating public opinion form the crux of the narrative. Through these characters, Tavener explores the moral ambiguities and ethical dilemmas PR professionals face, all wrapped in humour and insightful dialogues. Their journey through the maze of media crises, ethical quandaries, and political escapades engages and reflects the larger media landscape.

Stephen Fry - Absolute Power

The Genius Behind the Curtain: Mark Tavener

Mark Tavener, the brilliant mind behind “Absolute Power,” was an English writer known for his humour and dramatic flair. His storytelling reflects a keen understanding of the political and media landscapes, making the series an engaging listen for those interested in a satirical take on the machinations behind the media’s portrayal of government and celebrities. His ability to intertwine humour with thought-provoking insights into media and politics showcases his genius. His narrative style, laced with irony and satire, entertains and invites listeners to reflect on the larger societal constructs.

The Satirical Landscape Explored

“Absolute Power” serves as a satirical lens through which listeners explore the often murky waters of political public relations and media manipulation. Each episode presents a new challenge for the savvy PR duo, who navigate through a labyrinth of media crises, ethical quandaries, and political shenanigans with a blend of wit, humour, and cunning strategy. Though exaggerated for comedic effect, the scenarios offer a sharp critique of the real-world media landscape and the often-veiled machinations that shape public perception.

The Sonic Experience: Stellar Cast Performance

The cast’s performance, particularly Stephen Fry and John Bird, adds a layer of authenticity to the narrative. Their impeccable timing, expressive voice modulation, and the chemistry between them make the audiobook a delightful experience. The supporting cast also plays a significant role in making the narrative vibrant and engaging.

Analysing The Satirical Humor

The satirical humour in “Absolute Power” is a notable feature that sets it apart. The satire is well-infused in the narrative, shedding light on the media’s and political worlds’ idiosyncrasies. Through humour, Tavener effortlessly brings forth the manipulations and machinations that run rampant in these spheres, making the audience chuckle and ponder simultaneously.

The Artistry in Narrative Structure

The narrative structure of “Absolute Power” is woven meticulously, ensuring a seamless flow of events that keep the listeners engaged. The series’ episodic nature allows for a fresh narrative in every episode, yet the overarching storyline binds them together, providing a cohesive listening experience. Each episode, with its unique PR crisis and the ingenious solutions devised by Prentiss and McCabe, is a study of narrative excellence.

John Bird - Absolute Power

The Sociopolitical Commentary

Tavener’s work is a comedic saga and a sharp sociopolitical commentary. It uncovers the veils shrouding the media and political arenas, revealing the good, the bad, and the ugly in a enlightening and entertaining manner. The relevance of the themes discussed in “Absolute Power” stands as testimony to the series’ depth and Tavener’s foresight.

Character Development and Arcs

The character development in “Absolute Power” is commendable. The arcs of Charles Prentiss and Martin McCabe are crafted in a way that shows growth, learning, and a fair share of amusing misadventures. Their interactions with many other characters in the series bring forth many perspectives, making the narrative rich and multi-dimensional.

The Audio Experience: Direction and Sound Design

An audiobook’s impact is significantly influenced by its direction and sound design. “Absolute Power” excels in these aspects, providing an auditory experience that complements the narrative. The sound effects, background scores, and overall auditory ambience enrich the listening experience, making the series a delightful auditory journey.

Listener Reception and Legacy

The reception “Absolute Power” received from listeners and critics alike is a testament to its quality and relevance. The legacy it leaves behind is one of humour, insight, and candid exploration of the media and political landscapes. The discussions it spurred among audiences regarding the themes it explored continue to be relevant, making “Absolute Power” a significant work in satirical audiobooks.

Broader Implications of “Absolute Power”

“Absolute Power” extends beyond entertainment, nudging listeners to reflect on the broader implications of media manipulation and public relations strategies in shaping societal narratives. It acts as a catalyst for discussions on ethics, power dynamics, and the role of media in modern society.


“Absolute Power” by Mark Tavener is more than just an audiobook; it’s a thought-provoking, humour-infused exploration of complex themes that continue to be pertinent. As listeners dive into the satirical world Tavener created, they find themselves amused, enlightened and prompted to reflect on the intricacies of the media and political landscape. The blend of humour, stellar performances, and engaging narrative makes “Absolute Power” a timeless piece that continues to resonate with audiences, marking it as a significant contribution to audiobooks exploring the media and political landscapes.

The Audiobook can be purchased from Amazon here: Absolute Power Audiobook.

Back to Comedy