Comic Strip returns for Blair satire

...with Jennifer Saunders as Thatcher

The legendary Comic Strip team are to return to Channel 4 for the first time in six years with a one-off show, The Hunt for Tony Blair.

The 60-minute Fifties-style ‘fugitive’ film noir spoof will star Stephen Mangan, pictured, as the former Prime Minster on the run for mass murder.

A host of comic stars play political figures including Jennifer Saunders playing Margaret Thatcher in the style of Bette Davies in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Others include Harry Enfield as Alistair Campbell, Nigel Planer as Peter Mandelson, Still Game’s Ford Kiernan as Gordon Brown, Morgana Robinson as Carol Caplin and John Sessions as Thatcher’s butler.

Ross Noble plays an ‘old Labour’ tramp; Rik Mayall is a professor; and Robbie Coltrane is the police inspector on Blair’s trail, with his sidekick, played by The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley.

Channel 4‘s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: ‘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.’ 

The Hunt for Tony Blair has been written by the original Comic Strip writing duo of Peter Richardson and Pete Richens. Filming has not yet begun, and the programme is not expected to air before the winter.

Channel 4‘s head of comedy Shane Allen called it ‘an irresistibly hilarious script from the godfathers of modern comedy,’ adding: ‘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.’

The Comic Strip was formed by three double acts – Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson and French and Saunders in the early Eighties, setting up a rival to the new Comedy Store in a strip club under the Raymond Revue Bar. They were spotted by Channel 4 executives wanting talent for their new station, and their spoof Five Go Mad in Dorset was a highlight of the opening night in 1982.

The last series of The Comic Strip aired in 1993, and has been followed by three specials in 1998, 200 and 2005.

Published: 14 Jun 2011

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