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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 15:11 GMT
B'Stard spells trouble for Blair
Sketch
By Ollie Stone-Lee
BBC news political reporter

Rik Mayall
Alan B'Stard is back and as obnoxious as ever
As if Tony Blair did not have enough problems already, now he has ex-Tory MP Alan B'Stard working as his "enforcer".

Young Ones star Rik Mayall is reviving the money-grabbing politician, after a 15 year break, for a stage tour.

Writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran said B'Stard would be in charge of the "price for peerages" programme.

Mr Gran said: "We are running like mad to keep up with the government. There are obviously satirists at No 10 and we have got to compete with them."

The man to save Blair?

B'Stard was the star of the New Statesman television comedy, which ran from 1987 to 1993 and won both Bafta and Emmy awards for best comedy.

In the play, the MP has switched from the Conservatives to New Labour, making a fortune during the run on the pound on Black Wednesday.

Explaining the defection to Labour, Mr Mayall said: "They are young, they are sexy and they are much more right-wing than the Conservative Party."

Mr Gran said the play, whose tour starts in Brighton and will include Wimbledon, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, would be updated weekly with topical jokes.

"This is a terrible time for Tony Blair and New Labour," he said.

"The government is reeling - it's three years since the invasion of Iraq and we still don't know why that happened.

"Only one man can save Tony Blair, and that's Alan B'Stard."

'Wounded government'

The writers say they originally thought they would be writing a comedy about B'Stard shamelessly changing his spots to shift from Tory to Labour.

But now they say they realise the MP fits seamlessly into the current Labour Party.

Mr Gran said: "We never thought they would be quite so ghastly quite so quickly and that they would give us so much ammunition.

"We wondered about Alan changing sides a long time ago but New Labour was popular then.

"Now the time is right. You can't do something as beastly as we are going to do unless the party is lying on the floor with a big 'kick me' sign on it.

"Alan only exists when the animal is badly wounded."

Corruption claim

Mr Marks is still a Labour member but says he wants to see the party reinvented back into the party he joined.

"I was completely taken in by what Blair told me from 1994 to 1997, then he declared war and now he is selling honours," he said - referring to the recent peerages claims which the prime minister vehemently denies.

"We are beginning to see that power corrupts and I just didn't think it would happen to this government."

Mr Marks said he had bumped into Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in a supermarket and set up a meeting to discuss the latest project.

But the meeting had quickly been cancelled after Mr Mayall announced that he was reviving the B'Stard character again, he said.

Mayall will be joined by Marsha Fitzalan, who again plays B'Stard's wife Sarah.

The MP has lost his usual ally Piers, who stuck with the Tories, but has a new side-kick called Frank, a left-wing former coal miner.

Tony and Cherie Blair will be heard in the play - they are neighbours to B'Stard, who lives in No 9 Downing Street.


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