Over 50 years ago, everybody believed that the recording of Let It Be was a very fractious time in the Beatles’ lives.

But now Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary, Get Back, suggests they were happy and companionable.

Are we imagining other important events as being traumatic but they are actually joyful?

On November 14, Michael Heseltine (pictured with Margaret Thatcher) turned to his wife and asked: ‘Do you think it might amuse Margaret if I were to mount a challenge for the Conservative Party leadership?’

On November 14, Michael Heseltine (pictured with Margaret Thatcher) turned to his wife and asked: ‘Do you think it might amuse Margaret if I were to mount a challenge for the Conservative Party leadership?’

In a new series, I examine the real story behind yesterday’s headlines. Margaret Thatcher has resigned from No.

Geoffrey Howe, Deputy Prime Minister, resigned on November 1, 1990.

A fortnight later in his resignation speech, he spoke out about the difficulties of trying negotiations with Europe during Mrs Thatcher’s open dismissal of monetary union.

‘It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find, the moment the first balls are bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.’

Recently found footage of the House of Commons chamber reveals that Margaret Thatcher is far from feeling smug.

Kenneth Baker, Margaret Thatcher and Douglas Hurd in the House of Commons in 1989

In 1989, the House of Commons was represented by Kenneth Baker and Margaret Thatcher.

She turns to Kenneth Baker, to her right, and, wiping away tears of laughter, says, ‘Absolutely hilarious! Broken bats! Classic!!’

On the morning of November 14, Michael Heseltine turned to his wife, Anne, and asked her: ‘Do you think it might amuse Margaret if I were to mount a challenge for the Conservative Party leadership?’

‘Oh, yes! What a fun idea!’ replied Anne, ‘And Margaret’s always game for a laugh!’

Heseltine, who was living in Belgravia at the time, announced that he would be taking on his leadership challenge later that same day. The footage has been re-enacted and shows Heseltine speaking with Margaret Thatcher by telephone.

‘Switch on your telly, Margaret — you’re in for a bit of a giggle!’ he jokes. ‘See you later, love! Big kiss!’

We all know that Mrs Thatcher won the first vote in the leadership election, four votes less than the minimum required majority.

Heseltine and Thatcher at the Conservative Party Conference in October 1981

Heseltine, Thatcher and the Conservative Party Conference of October 1981

She was captured declaring her intent to vote in the second round outside the British Embassy Paris.

The footage was then edited. Only recently have we discovered her subsequent comments. ‘Mind you,’ she says to her Private Secretary, ‘I could probably do with a well-earned rest.

You have the chance to meet up with Jackie Collins and enjoy a bit of sunbathing. Politics isn’t everything. And poor Michael’s been after the job so long, bless him, it’s surely time he had a chance.’

These next weeks proved to be full of laughter and good times.

In footage taken behind the scenes, Mrs Thatcher can be seen urging her campaign manager, Peter Morrison, to take a more relaxed attitude, ‘and whatever happens don’t lose any valuable drinking time!’

Most evenings, Heseltine dropped by on her for what he describes as ‘a chin-wag and a bit of a laugh’. In one recently discovered scene, Mrs Thatcher takes to the piano, and she and Heseltine duet on a rousing version of The Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down.

Kenneth Clarke in 1988. The Tory politician was the Home Secretary from 1992 to 1993

Kenneth Clarke, 1988. Between 1992 and 1993, Home Secretary for the Tory party was Kenneth Clarke. 

On November 21, Thatcher’s Cabinet ministers were ushered into her office, one by one, offering frank advice on whether or not she should continue.

New CCTV footage from her office reveals that, far from being sombre, the evening was, in the words of one participant, ‘a hoot from start to finish’.

In the corridor outside her office, Kenneth Clarke, Cecil Parkinson and Kenneth Baker can be seen enjoying an impromptu round of Grandmother’s Footsteps with Norman Tebbit.

Inside, Michael Howard cheers Mrs Thatcher up with a ribald ‘Knock-Knock’ joke passed on to him by Neil Kinnock.

The following day, Mrs Thatcher announced to her Cabinet that she was withdrawing from the contest. ‘After all, there’s a new series of Star Trek starting, and I don’t want to miss it.’

Later, when she left No 10, she was filmed saying: ‘We’re leaving Downing Street for the last time after 11 and a half wonderful years.’

With a smile, she stepped into the car. Heseltine is seen in footage that was unearthed crouching behind her car ready to be surprised with balloons and novelty party caps.

Historical experts no longer view this time in the Conservative Party’s history as bitter or divisive.

‘Far from it,’ says Peter Jackson, director of Thatcher: Happy As She Goes. ‘Not until Dominic Cummings said cheerio to Boris Johnson was the Tory Party ever so united.’