Watch The New Statesman
- 4 Seasons
The New Statesman was a British sitcom that aired on ITV for four seasons from 1987-1994. It starred the late Rik Mayall as the conniving and ruthless Conservative MP Alan B'Stard, a character who embodied everything that was wrong with the Tory party during the 1980s.
The show was set during the Thatcher era, and it was a satire of the greed and excess of the time. Alan B'Stard was a character who had no moral compass and would stop at nothing to further his own interests, even if it meant betraying his friends and colleagues.
The show had a fantastic cast, including Marsha Fitzalan as Alan's long-suffering wife Sarah, Michael Troughton as his lackey Piers Fletcher-Dervish, Terence Alexander as his mentor Sir Greville McDonald, and Hugh Laurie as his naive colleague and eventual rival Peter Moran.
The New Statesman was known for its witty writing and fast-paced dialogue, as well as for its outrageous plots and stunts. The show tackled a wide range of topical issues, from the rise of the far-right to the privatisation of public services.
One of the most iconic episodes of the show was "The Irresistible Rise of Alan B'Stard", in which Alan engineers his rise to the top of the Conservative party by blackmailing his colleagues and seducing the Prime Minister's wife. Another popular episode was "Waste Not Want Not", in which Alan concocts a scheme to privatise the NHS and profit from patients' urine.
The show was also known for its guest appearances from well-known actors and comedians. Paul O'Grady appeared in an episode as a drag queen who blackmails Alan, while Patrick Godfrey played the Prime Minister who is humiliated by Alan's antics.
Despite its success, The New Statesman was not without controversy. Some critics accused the show of being too extreme and one-dimensional in its portrayal of Tory politicians, while others praised it for its sharp social commentary and incisive satire.
Overall, The New Statesman was a funny and irreverent show that captured the zeitgeist of its time. Rik Mayall's iconic performance as Alan B'Stard has gone down in TV history as one of the most memorable characters of the 1980s. The show's legacy lives on, inspiring many other political comedies in the years since its initial run.
The New Statesman is a series that is currently running and has 4 seasons (27 episodes). The series first aired on September 13, 1987.