Rik Mayall Interviews and Articles Archive

The Pan Global Phenomenon in all his verbal glory.

Category: 1990

Who Shot Alan B’Stard?

For TV Guide, 6 – 12th January 1990

By Isla Whitcroft and Tim Ewbank

Even an assassin’s bullet can’t stop evil MP Alan B’Stard, who’s returning for an hour long special this week that proves only the good die young.

Alan B’Stard is alive and kicking. A one hour The New Statesman special, Who Shot Alan B’Stard? suggests there’s life in the double-dealing MP yet, but there’s something peculiar going on: B’Stard was gunned down by an unknown assassin and a month later he is still apparently fighting for his life. Meanwhile, the House of Commons debates the reintroduction of capital punishment. The vote looks like it’ll be a tie, until B’Stard strolls in, back from the brink, to vote in favour of the death penalty.

“I suspect there are MPs like him about,” says Rik Mayall of the dastardly politician, who’s based on “someone, though I’m not prepared to say who.

“I also read a lot of books about murderers and tyrants and evil people but in the end it was my haircut which made me grasp the role. I simply had the parting changed on my hair and there I was — a smooth, evil-looking politician.

“B’Srard is so devious!” enthuses Mayall who revels in his role. “And he gets worse every series. But all the jokes end up on him and I think that’s great. I don’t believe people see him as a hero — I hope they don’t. If they did, I wouldn’t do it.”

At the moment he’s happy to continue in his Emmy-winning role (“I’ve always played bastards; it’s much easier to make people laugh if you scream and shout at them”), which is fortunate as B’Stard has — or so he tells the aghast MPs — been treated by brilliant Amazonian faith healers, hence the miraculous recovery he’s made.

In fact, the shooting was arranged by the MP himself after he had bet £50,000 at 20-1 that capital punishment would be reinstated by Christmas. His wife, Sarah, already with pound signs printed on her eyeballs, was rather looking forward to people the life of a wealthy widow.

“She’s a bit of an okay-yah girl but good fun. She’ll try anything,” says Marsha Fitzalan, who plays her. The daughter of the Duke of Norfolk (“I don’t use my title”), Fitzalan’s enthusiasm for her role is not matched by her father: “He’s always amazed at the money I earn and can’t believe I get paid for what I do. He thinks it’s just charades.”

Now the charades turn nasty. Furious Sarah, determined to expose B’Stard as a fraud, forms an alliance with top campaigning journalist Kerry Grout and together they work out their revenge. “I enjoy the work so much,” says Fitzalan, “and the cast has a great laugh. Plus, it’s a very different sitcom.”

Hot on B’Stard’s devious trail, Sarah persuades Piers Fletcher Dervish, her husband’s friend and fall guy, to find out how the shooting was rigged. The plot thickens when they unearth a high velocity rifle and bulletproof vest from B’Stard’s safe. But as Piers demonstrates to Grout how the shooting was fixed, he accidentally kills the journalist.

But doesn’t all this sound highly unlikely? “I think half the things in The New Statesman could easily happen,” Fitzalan says firmly.

Mayall agrees: “I hope the public enjoy it but I’ve a feeling the establishment don’t. B’Stard is a caricature really. I’ve never met anyone like that and I certainly don’t want to. But the underlying theme — success at any cost — is very, very real.”

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Chapter: The Opposite Sex

Taken from the book NSPCC Book Of Famous Faux Pas, 1990

Edited by Fiona Snelson

Excerpt from the introduction by Fiona Snelson:

…It struck me then that everyone must have some story or experience that makes them squirm or chuckle when remembered and I thought it would be a good idea if I could get famous people to share some of these magic moments with the rest of us. The idea for a book of ‘famous faux pas’ was born.

I wrote over a thousand letters to well known personalities from the world of politics, sport, entertainment and religion asking them to recount any of these experiences which they remembered and finally this book was completed.
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Rik’s Contribution:

When I was at Manchester University I was in love with a girl who worked in my local chip shop. Completely besotted. So much so that I could hardly go into the shop in case she looked at me and I blushed and I had to run away. Having done that, I’d never be able to return and I’d never see her again.

Anyway, one day I was very hungry, there was nothing in the house and I had to brace the chip shop.

I looked in the window. There was no one behind the counter. Whoever was serving was in the back room. I went in. I was alone in the shop. Then she appeared. Utterly brain-mincingly gorgeous and radiant. I felt I was soiling her beauty merely by my presence. I had to be cool. I was going to have chicken pie and chips but I had to be cool.

‘Yes,’ she breathed.

‘Er, chicken and chips please,’ I heard myself saying. Surely that was the coolest thing they sold.

‘Leg or breast,’ said the goddess.

Our eyes met for the last time as I said, ‘What are your breasts like?’

For a full five seconds we looked into each other’s eyes as I went from pink to red to purple and all my insides decided they had become semolina. Then I ran away. Never to return.

And if you read this, chip lady, I still love you.