The West Wing: cast of political drama, where to watch all seven seasons in the UK - and the special explained

Richard Schiff, who plays Toby Ziegler in the show had coronavirus earlier this year
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The West Wing has seen a spike in popularity of late since the political drama became available to stream in the UK.

The hit TV show follows a fictional democratic administration in office in The White House in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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It features a star-studded cast including Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe and Richard Schiff.

The West Wing cast pictured ahead of season three of the political drama, which has seen a spike in popularity of late. (Pic: Getty)The West Wing cast pictured ahead of season three of the political drama, which has seen a spike in popularity of late. (Pic: Getty)
The West Wing cast pictured ahead of season three of the political drama, which has seen a spike in popularity of late. (Pic: Getty)

Schiff, 65, who plays Toby Ziegler on the show, was struck down by coronavirus in November.

What is The West Wing about?

The political drama follows key figures of the White House staff in the day-to-day life of the US presidential office, under the leadership of a fictional president.

President Josiah Bartlett (Sheen) is supported by chief of staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer), deputy chief of staff (Whitford), communications director Toby Ziegler (Schiff), deputy communications director Sam Seaborn (Lowe) and press secretary CJ Cregg (Janney).

Where can I watch West Wing?

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For a long time The West Wing wasn’t available on UK streaming services.

Now, all seven seasons and two stand alone episodes of The West Wing are available to watch for free on Channel 4’s All 4 platform.

It has proved to be a hit with viewers rewatching Aaron Sorkin’s creation, as well as newcomers enjoying the show for the first time.

The show’s box set has long been available to buy on either VHS or DVD, while single episode viewing can be bought via Amazon Prime Video.

Is West Wing available on Netflix?

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Despite its popularity, The West Wing isn’t available on Netflix in the UK. In fact, it’s never been available to regions outside the US.

It will leave the US Netflix platform on Christmas Day 2020 and is expected to feature on HBO Max, which aired a one-off special in October.

What was The West Wing Special about?

The special episode, titled A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, was a stage reenactment of season three episode Hartsfield's Landing.

Hartsfield’s Landing is titled after a fictional New Hampshire town, which is one of the first places to declare its results for the US presidential elections.

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The president plays chess with Sam and Toby while they wait for the results to roll in.

There were some changes to the cast this time around, Sterling K. Brown played the deceased John Spencer's iconic role of chief of staff Leo McGarry, as well as some special guests.

Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and Elisabeth Moss all featured.

It was aired on HBO Max in America ahead of the US presidential election, which saw Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump. It isn’t yet available in the UK.

What happened to actor Richard Schiff?

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Schiff revealed to viewers of Good Morning Britain how he was on the brink of death after contracting coronavirus in November.

The 65-year-old said his condition was so bad he and his wife, Sheila Kelley, shared what he thought could have been their last conversation.

“I had a conversation with my wife and had to speak about maybe not seeing each other again,” the actor told the show’s hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

“The worst part of it is the epiphany, the realisation, that you may never touch each other again - that struck home more than anything else.

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“We gotta go at some point but the idea I'd never touch her again was striking but luckily I made it.”

As well as starring in The West Wing, Schiff, a former taxi driver, has a long list of TV (Cheers, ER and Roswell) and film (Se7en, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Dr. Dolittle) credits to his name and is currently playing the role of Dr. Aaron Glassman in The Good Doctor.

He and his wife married in 1996 and reside in Vancouver.

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