Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The New Statesman, Season 1 (1987)

It is 1987, and Alan B'Stard has just been elected to parliament as representative for his Yorkshire seat.  B'stard is a member of the ruling Conservative party, a "new money" man who has married into status and party influence.  He's a successful political animal, cunning and charismatic ... but to continue the alliterative theme, also cynical, callous, corrupt and conceited.  He's the kind of man who thinks that the way to fix long waiting lists in the national health service is to disband the national health service.

Whether conniving with his equally criminal accountant, or browbeating aid out of his dim-witted parliamentary colleagues, B'Stard sets out to feather his own nest at the expense of pretty much everyone he meets, in a series of schemes and situations that frequently veer back and forth between triumph and disaster, as B'Stard's ego or prejudices get him into all the trouble his amoral ruthlessness can handle.

The New Statesman might be described as "Yes Minister meets The Young Ones".  I found it to be frequently funny, in an absurdist kind of fashion, with Alan B'Stard being such an over the top ... well, bastard ... that he's hard not to find strangely likeable, even as he's basically plotting to ruin everyone else for his own benefit.  It won't be too all tastes, though.  Like The Young Ones, it's extremely broad and off-colour, and it's occasionally guilty of "punching down" at marginalised people, rather than "punching up" at people like B'Stard himself.

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