The New Statesman: Season 2, Episode 8

Who Shot Alan B'Stard? (14 Jan. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
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B'stard recovers in hospital in time to cast the deciding commons vote to bring back capital punishment and even gains the contract to have the new gallows built. Sarah rightly guesses that... See full summary »

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Title: Who Shot Alan B'Stard? (14 Jan 1990)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Michael Troughton ...
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Terence Alexander ...
Sir Greville McDonald
David Beale ...
Michael Bilton ...
Sir William Horsey QC
Paul Birchard ...
Ximenes
Peter Blake ...
Kerry Grout
Geoffrey Chater ...
Justice Saunders
Dickie Davies ...
Himself
Janine Duvitski ...
Interpreter
Roger Grainger ...
Usher
Alan Hardwick ...
Newscaster
Tom Harrison ...
Vicar
Berwick Kaler ...
Jeff Dicquead
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Storyline

B'stard recovers in hospital in time to cast the deciding commons vote to bring back capital punishment and even gains the contract to have the new gallows built. Sarah rightly guesses that the supposed assassination attempt was a fraud and that B'stard had bet that hanging would be restored, gaining a sizeable cash sum. When B'stard promotes a new charity Sarah teams up with TV chat show host Kerry Grout to expose him at the same time that Piers discovers how the fake assassination was carried out but unfortunately kills Kerry whilst demonstrating it. B'stard is charged with the murder and is hung on the gallows but, since the contractor he hired used balsa wood and not mahogany, it collapses. This is seen as an act of God and he receives a free pardon as a result. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Comedy

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14 January 1990 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

 
To hang a dead man
3 December 2010 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

I love 1960's American comics. Just looking at the adverts for ephemera such as X-ray spectacles, long-playing records of horror film sound effects, blood capsules, even toy submarines makes me smile. One advert I saw again recently after many years was for the 'Emenee Thermo/Craft Workshop'. The sales pitch took the form of a comic strip in which young Mike invites pal Bob into his bedroom. The latter is impressed by the other's toy collection, and asks Mike how his parents managed to afford them. Instead of telling the little tyke to mind his own business, Mike says he made the toys himself using the aforementioned gadget. The Workshop included a battery-powered saw which burned shapes out of patterned sheets. These, when assembled, made neat little toys. Bob announces that for his next birthday he is going to ask for an Emenee Thermo/Craft Workshop. Had this been a British advert, it would probably have ended with Mike knocking seven bells out of Bob for copying him. I wonder how many of the things were sold back then? It sounds the ideal present for the spoilt brat - a saw with a blade hot enough to burn off fingers. I bet there are middle-aged American men walking round now with digits missing thanks to this contraption. Different times, eh?

Onto the review. While the country reels from the news that Alan B'stard is dead, a vote on the restoration of capital punishment is deadlocked at the Commons. Guess who breaks it? Alan himself of course. Striding into the chamber to gasps of amazement from other M.P.'s, he votes firmly in favour of hanging. Alan claims to have been resurrected by Chief Ximenes ( Paul Birchard ) of South America. Of course its another scam. B'stard faked his own shooting. Livid at having the man she thought gone forever back, Sarah teams up with Piers and Australian talk-show host Kerry Grout ( Peter Blake ) to look into Alan's murky business interests. Grout has noticed how Alan gets people to write cheques made out to charities whose names spell the word C.A.S.H. Whilst breaking into Alan's safe, Piers accidentally shoots Grout dead. Alan is blamed and goes on trial for murder...

Nice if overlong episode with an ironic touch in that the man who votes to restore hanging becomes its first new victim in years. For the first time ever we feel for B'stard as he sits alone in his cell, sobbing. Hangman 'Sidney Bliss' returns, having previously appeared in two Season 1 episodes - 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' and 'Waste Not, Want Not' but this time he is played by the late John Normington. David Simeon returns as 'P.C. Austin' but because the Jerome Willis character is also called 'Austin' his name has been altered to 'P.C. Matthews'.

Funniest moment - knowing that Piers is peering through the spy hole in his cell door, Alan jabs a finger into it! Cue scream.

Second funniest moment - the hanging is televised, and done in the manner of a major sporting event. Dickie Davies compère's, girls walk about holding up sponsorship cards, and there's a brief contribution from the eccentrically attired John McCririck.

Luckily for Alan the wood the gallows is made from came from a company he himself owns, so when Bliss tries to hang him it falls to pieces ( perhaps it was made using the Emenee Thermo/Craft Workshop? ). B'stard lives to fight another day!


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