B’Stard Drops Conservatives for Blair

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

By Paul Majendie for Reuters, 19th April 2006

LONDON – The most self-serving and principle-free parliamentarian ever to disgrace the House of Commons is back and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Prime Minister Tony Blair in power.

The despicable spoof Conservative politician Alan B’Stard, who mocked the “Greed is Good” era of rampant capitalism and pilloried Margaret Thatcher’s government in a television satire, has defected to the Labour Party and the theatre.

Writers Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks felt the time was right to revive their most odious creation, played by comedian Rik Mayall, and now it is Blair’s turn to face the flak from a man whose support might be more of a hindrance than a help.

In the popular television series that ended in the early Nineties, B’Stard was pure slime in a pinstripe suit. Mayall’s character was a member of parliament whose lust for power was only matched by his penchant for devious schemes and an unerring ability to sniff out political advantage.

In the new stage play the suit is the same but the “minister without portfolio or scruple” now sports a Labour rosette.

With Blair’s government embroiled in a row over claims that peerages were awarded to Labour party donors, Gran said he relished the fortuitous timing for the opening of “The New Statesman – Episode 2006:The Blair B’Stard Project” in Brighton on Wednesday.

“The timing of our play could not be better,” he told Reuters ahead of the first night. “It is good to kick them when they are down. When else do you kick someone?”

After Labour spent 18 years in the political wilderness, Blair swept to power in 1997 promising a sleaze-free administration. Something which Gran says has made the government ripe for parody.

“If you ride into town on a white horse with a white hat and waving a white banner, you are going to disappoint people more than if you came in on the bus,” Gran said. “Labour were riding for a fall.

“I don’t know what the Labour Party is any more. It is really a bunch of people who are told after 18 months the best way to give up smoking is to cut your hands off. They have abandoned most of what they believe in,” he said.

Gran thinks B’Stard succeeded as a popular icon symbolising the greed of an ego-driven generation because of his complete lack of hypocrisy.

“Saying what you mean, however grotesque, carries a certain aura,” he said.

Gran and Marks once had to rewrite one television series after Thatcher was toppled by her own party. Gran hopes Blair — who has vowed to step down before an election expected in 2009 — does not jump ship early.

“As an exponent of commercial theatre I am rooting for Tony to keep going as long as the show. I quite like having him there to take the mickey out of,” he said.

But he poured scorn on Blair’s potential successors.

“When you go through the sorry catalogue of possible alternatives, you realise this is a pretty mediocre bunch. At the peak of Thatcherism, she at least had a bunch of heavyweights. This is a bunch of jokers,” he said.