TV Cream

TV: N is for...

New Statesman, The

RIK “I WAS PAUL SQUIRES!” MAYALL ruled the late-Sunday, pre-Bragg ITV slot in this harsh, tasteless and often fantastic politicom as Alan B’Stard, a Conservative MP who was a crook, an extremist, a liar, a shit, a scumbag, an adulterer and a sadist all rolled into one. MICHAEL “MELLISH” TROUGHTON was his feeble, in-the-womb sidekick/punchbag Piers Fletcher-Dervish, and real life toff MARSHA FITZALAN played the equally vile ‘wronged’ wife, who spent the money and shagged about rather a lot too. Terrific, brutal Commons lobby and office scenes often resulted in blackmail (“Chief Whip, you’ve just made a terrible mistake!”) or violence (“hand in the drawer, Piers!”), while ripping heads off teddy bears; hanging babies out of eighteenth floor windows; kicking over one-legged Falklands veterans and bringing back hanging in public (featuring DICKIE “JIGSAW” DAVIES as the anchorman of the TV coverage) were all brazenly present and incorrect. Inevitable STEVE NALLON cameos as Maggie when required, with other real Tories (Archer, Parkinson, Tebbit) all getting mentioned in unflattering context. Ace chest-beating patriot’s theme courtesy of ALAN “COUNTDOWN” HAWKSHAW, with Mayall surrounded by union flags.



  1. Applemask

    January 9, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Theme tune by Alan “Girl in Sportscar” Hawkshaw and Modest “Emerson Lake and” Mussorgsky, to be exact.

  2. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 1:53 am

    Not a popular opinion, but even when it was being broadcast, I thought The New Statesman was pretty weak and lazy, especially compared to the full-tilt brutality of Spitting Image at its peak. The scripts were full of feeble ‘Will this do?’ lines that should have been sent back for a re-write at the rehearsal stage, and it tried far too hard to be shocking and offensive – the ancient Nazi war criminal getting shoved in front of a train (cue shots of his false teeth landing on the platform and Piers getting splashed with geriatric Gestapo blood), B’stard throwing a cat out of the window, the tedious emphasis on ‘bonking’ (a very eighties thing, that, along with the assumption that references to donkeys and sheep are inherently hilarious)… I could go on. Mayall elevated the series with his performance, of course, but then he was on a hot streak at the time.

    That said, the miniature episode of The New Statesman that was shown during the first Comic Relief night was streets ahead of the ITV instalments, especially the following sequence – ‘Cor! Bloody hell! Cecil Parkinson and a whip!’ (Goes into Rick from The Young Ones overdrive) ‘Which, of course, would be beneath me.’ (Back into Rick mode) ‘A bit like my bottom. Which is right here, look!’ (Waggles arse at camera, then calms down again) ‘But, of course, that was a different series…’

    That’s comedy you could bottle. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mayall wrote the sketch himself, in fact. Confirm, deny, anyone?

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