Alan B’Stard Goes Walkabout!

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

By Emma Clayton for Telegraph and Argus, 12th June 2007

Strutting in front of City Hall, the sharp-suited politician oozed oily insincerity as he grinned for photographers, chatted to shoppers and shook the hands of passers-by.

This was actor Rik Mayall in character as slimy MP Alan B’Stard, doing a walkabout in Bradford city centre today on the day his show, The New Statesman, opened at the Alhambra.

Once a pinstripe-suited Thatcherite, B’Stard has made a political comeback – as a pinstripe-suited Blairite – and yesterday lunchtime he was in Centenary Square meeting bemused Bradford-ians.

“Hello Bradford!” he called. There were no babies around to kiss but the MP’ flirted with a couple of women, kissing their hands for the cameras, and shared a joke with a group of lads.

Passers-by called out and a Big Issueseller stopped to shake his hand, prompting B’Stard to grimace and wipe his hand on a reporter’s jacket.

The MP we love to hate insisted he was a man of the people who was “saving the nation from Tony Blair.”

“When Alan removed Thatcher from the country there was nobody left to despise. So he invented New Labour, which is far more right wing than the Tories, and he’s on a mission to keep them in power,” said Rik.

“He’s edging Tony out and making way for Gordon. I’m a patriot, I love my country. And I have been called to get rid of Tony Blair.”

Slipping in and out of character, it was difficult to know where Alan B’Stard ended and Rik Mayall began.

His tongue was firmly in his cheek as he spoke of the “great fun” he’s having on the UK tour of The New Statesman. “It’s not a stage version of the TV show, it’s the next instalment. We tried to get it on the telly but nobody would do it. They won’t take a risk, they’re all working for Blair.”

In the show, by writers of the original 1987-92 TV series, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the deliciously devious B’Stard throws himself into the campaign for leadership of the Labour Party. But his big concern is joining the Trillionaires Club, an exclusive body boasting eight figures who own most of the world’s oil. Condolezza Rice has the key – but will she allow Alan to access all areas?

Rik Mayall starred in four series of The New Statesman on ITV. His career also includes Bottom, Blackadder, and The Young Ones.