New Comic Strip for Channel 4
Head of Comedy at Channel 4, Shane Allen, has announced the return of the Comic Strip team for a one off special entitled The Hunt for Tony Blair.
‘An irresistibly hilarious script from the godfathers of modern comedy. Brilliantly conceived, we race through Blair’s past as he’s the wronged man (in his own head) on the run for mass murder. So many juicy parts for the big comedy hitters of the comic strip team alongside some newer C4 comedy talents, it promises to be a very daring and utterly irreverent romp.’ – Shane Allen
The hour-long film is penned by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens and follows Prime Minister Tony Blair (Stephen Mangan), wanted for murder and on the run. Escaping from Number 10 and leaving behind his adoring wife Cherie (Catherine Shepherd), Tony vows to clear his name no matter what the consequences. It will be set as a 1950s style ‘fugitive’ film noir spoof.
But on a foggy London night, Tony has few friends willing to harbour a wanted man and with front pages demanding his capture, Blair has no choice but to go on the run, with Inspector Hutton (Robbie Coltrane) and his sidekick (James Buckley) hot on his trail. The chase unfolds thanks to evidence gleaned from his ‘allies’ Mandelson (Nigel Planer) and Brown (Ford Kiernan), as well as an unlikely encounter with Margaret Thatcher (Jennifer Saunders – a la Bette Davies in ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’). Surely Tony’s an innocent man, pursued for a crime he didn’t commit?
The cast also include Harry Enfield as Alistair Campbell, Rik Mayall as Professor Predictor, Morgana Robinson as Carol Caplin, John Sessions as Thatcher’s butler and Ross Noble as an ‘old Labour’ Tramp.
Revenge, betrayal, the women and of course the enemies (and there are a few) all add to the melodrama in this steamy action packed thriller.
The first Comic Strip Presents was screened on Channel 4’s opening evening, November 2nd 1982, Five Go Mad in Dorset was a merciless parody of the Enid Blyton story, The Famous Five. The TV Times billed the show has having a ‘special surprise guest’. The guest turned out to be Crossroads actor Ronald Allen. In total 41 episodes have been made, the last in 2005. Other guest stars to appear include Beryl Reid, Keith Allen and Leslie Philips.
‘Comic Strip defined comedy for a generation and it’s a real coup to have the team back tackling one of the most controversial subjects of our time in a way that only they can. Tony Blair on the run, Jennifer Saunders as Margaret Thatcher, a stellar cast and hotbed of political intrigue – I can’t wait to see the rushes.’ – Ch4 Chief Creative Officer, Jay Hunt