Rik Mayall becomes a right B’stard
ik Mayall’s hit political sitcom The New Statesman came about after he bumped into Shine on Harvey Moon writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran and asked if they’d consider writing something for him.
‘He was very honest,’ Maurice recalled. ‘“I want to play a character who’s just like me,” he said. “Vain, greedy, depraved, obsessed with money, and not afraid to kill”. It sounded to us like he wanted to play a Conservative backbencher…’
And so Alan Beresford B’stard was born. The
Tory MP for Haltemprice in Yorkshire – majority 26,738 after he arranged for his opponents to be maimed in a car crash before the election – was a rottento-the-core megalomaniac who’d stop at nothing
Rto satisfy his political, financial and sexual whims. His first act as an MP was to push for a bill to arm the police, and then promptly cashed in by selling them dodgy firearms made of old frying pans. Soon after, he called for the abolition of the NHS, the re-legalisation of slavery and, foreshadowing current problems, the erection of a 30ft-high electrified border-control system called B’stard’s Fence.
Rik came to the role after making his name as part of the alternative comedy scene of the early-1980s, most memorably as selfstyled West Midlands ‘investigative journalist’ Kevin Turvey in A Kick Up the Eighties and student wannabe anarchist Rick in The Young Ones. ‘The marvellous thing about being an actor is that you can do anything,’ he told
TV Times. ‘I mean, I don’t personally get the chance to break windows, blackmail people or burn down printworks, but I do as Alan!’
In 2014, following Rik’s death at the age of 56, Laurence and Maurice wrote an obituary of Alan, revealing what he’d been up to since he last appeared on TV. After ascending to the House of Lords, from where he’d engineered Tony Blair’s downfall, he was latterly to be found at one of his favourite hang-outs – ‘Farage’s Private Members’ Club’.
Champagne for Alan usually meant real pain for others