Byline: By DAMIEN FLETCHER
The B'stard is back - and he's on a revenge mission. Comic Rik Mayall has resurrected his nastiest character, the psychotically ambitious MP Alan B'stard, and is taking him on a tour of the nation's theatres in a bid to speed Tony Blair's departure from office.
Using his whiniest Young Ones voice, Mayall explains why he's not one of the PM's biggest fans. "It seems like I'm the only one who didn't get invited to No 10 Downing Street. Everybody else did. Harry Enfield got invited there, Oasis got invited there, I think even French and Saunders did. But I didn't, did I?
"But that's not why I'm going on tour to take the p*** out of Tony, honest!"
Rik first unleashed B'stard in 1987 as the star of TV political sitcom The New Statesman. Now the conniving politician is making an unlikely comeback onstage.
"The trouble with political comedy is that it's a bit less cutting than it used to be," says Rik, 48. "These days it's more about making fun of politicians' mannerisms than going for the jugular.
"It's so difficult to get a political gag on telly now. I had terrible trouble with a show called Believe Nothing on ITV in 2002 where it was censored before we were allowed to record it.
"They were telling me, 'You can't say that joke, that one's got to go'. But we still have freedom of speech in British theatres so I can say what I want and we can write what we want. That's why B'stard is back on stage."
Thankfully Rik has also made a full recovery from the serious quad bike accident which nearly killed him in 1998.
"Nearly 2000 years after Jesus Christ was nailed up on the cross," he smiles, "the good Lord in his wisdom pushed me off my quad bike. It was on Crap Thursday, the day before Good Friday.
"I was in a coma until Easter Monday so I was dead for five days, which means I beat Jesus five-three.
"But I believe God gave me more time on this Earth because my work's not finished. I have to save the world from Tony Blair."
Rik is, of course, as outspoken as ever. In October, he blasted the BBC claiming you have to be "black, homosexual or a woman" to work there.
"The BBC2 controller Jane Root rejected this great new show called Hooligans Island I had written with Adrian Edmonson, and I was fuming," he explains.
"It was going to be the follow-up to Bottom. The idea was that we were working as airline stewards and there was a terrible plane crash and then we're stuck living as wild men on this island. Then things happen like a fashion shoot arriving with loads of gorgeous girls and we try to steal a helicopter.
"It was some of the best stuff we'd ever written, but Jane decided it wasn't funny and said no. It was the first time in my whole life anyone had ever turned us down and I was staggered, deeply shocked and very p****d off."
And he was doubly hurt when Edmonson decided to stop working with him - for the time being.
"We went on the road with the Bottom live tour in 2003," says Rik, "and then Ade said, 'Right that's it, …