B’Stards Past and Present: An Interview with Laurence Marks

Alan B'Stard (Rik Mayall) in Parliment, seen here with his creators Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran.
Alan B’Stard (Rik Mayall) in Parliment, seen here with his creators Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran.

Imagine Alan B’Stard, from the TV comedy satire The New Statesman, smirking and oozing sincerity on doorsteps and at hustings, appealing for votes in the run up to May’s General Election.

And perhaps Alan – aka the late, great comedian and actor Rik Mayall – will not be standing for Parliament as a Conservative or as the architect of New Labour, as he did in the hit 1980/90s television series or the 2006 stage play.

In today’s climate Alan, that selfish, greedy, dishonest, devious, lecherous, sadistic, and self-serving little shit, could be at home in almost any political party.  So says co-creator Laurence Marks (one half of writing team Marks & Gran) who will be speaking at This Is the Week That Is at the University of Portsmouth’s Eldon Building at 4pm on Wednesday April 15.

Laurence believes that it would be wrong and probably “disrespectful” to consider bringing back Alan B’Stard without Mayall. “It was always written with Rik in mind,” Laurence said. “He can never be replaced.”

However, he and Maurice are considering the possibility of soon introducing a new and equally bizarre character – but this time of the left.

“He might look back at the late 70s and the winter of discontent as the best time of his life. He might say things like: ‘I can remember bodies rotting in the street. Y’know, people looked up to trade unionists in those days.’ He would have enjoyed free holidays to Moscow with tickets supplied by a fraternal organisation. He might not have agreed with this orgnisation but at least they provided free tickets to visit Red Square.”

Laurence will also be showing the 1990 Bafta award-winning episode of The New Statesman, “Who Shot Alan B’Stard?” This is where Alan is recovering in hospital but is in time to cast the deciding Commons vote to bring back capital punishment, even gaining the contract to have the new gallows built.

The show spanned the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, sometimes uncannily pre-empting real-life events. In the episode ‘Sex Is Wrong’, Alan’s moral regeneration campaign foreshadowed Major’s 1993 ‘Back To Basics’ strategy.

Alan’s sexual antics anticipated scandals involving MPs while his dodgy financial dealings were echoed by similar real life events involving our elected representatives.

The Daily Mirror once used the headline, “What a B’Stard” to describe an MP who had left his loyal wife for a mistress. “It was at this moment that we realized we had got closer to the political underbelly than any of the politicians would have liked”, added Laurence.

Reserve tickets for Laurence’s talk and The New Statesman screening here


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