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Alan makes the grade!, 19 February 2012
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Firstly, thanks are in order to my friend 'Bullet-91' for making it
possible for me to review this mini-episode of 'The New Statesman'.
The show was only one year old when it crossed the floor to the B.B.C. for temporary inclusion in that year's 'Comic Relief'. It has Alan visiting the P.M.'s office at the Commons, where he bullies and blackmails her frumpy private secretary 'Hilary' ( Celia Imrie ). After gaining an audience with The Ironing Lady herself ( played by Steve Nallon of 'Spitting Image' ), he persuades her that the B.B.C. is a hot-bed of left-wing socialism ( not that she needed much persuading ) and, so, she phones Marmaduke Hussey ( then Chairman of the Board of Governors of the B.B.C., and in Thatcher's terms 'one of us' ) and closes it down. There is an ulterior motive in Alan's behaviour, though. In an earlier scene, he had been chatting on the phone to Michael Grade ( then head of Channel 4 ) who had promised him his very own show if he helped get the opposition crushed.
Imrie's 'Hilary' reappeared in a Season 2 episode entitled 'Let The Best Man Win', with her surname confirmed as 'Sissons'.
Its all pretty good stuff, even without 'Piers' and 'Sarah'.
Funniest moment - much to the delight of the studio audience, Alan suddenly metamorphoses into 'Rik' from 'The Young Ones'! One wonders if the scene was actually in Marks and Gran's script.
Second funniest moment - Alan telling the P.M. about the B.B.C.'s left-wing bias, including a show called 'That's My Dog!' which he claims stars Edwina Currie's husband!
I'd like to dedicate this review to the recently deceased Diana Gould, the plucky schoolteacher who famously put Thatcher on the spot on an 1983 edition of 'Nationwide' over the sinking of the Belgrano. They really ought to make a movie about her life as a corrective to the load of factually inaccurate cods-wallop that was the recent Meryl Streep biopic.
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