The New Statesman

Season 3 Episode 2

The Party's Over

Aired Unknown Jan 13, 1991 on ITV

Episode Recap

Sir Greville stuns Alan with the news that Professor Eugene Quaill has discovered that the oil reserves in the North Sea will be depleted a lot sooner than thought. This means that the British Government won't be able to balance its budget any more. Sir Greville asks Alan to start an election campaign to offset this horrible news.

Alan goes for the low road and makes party political broadcasts with Page Three girls, aiming for the lowest common denominator. This strategy proves successful and the outlook for the Conservative Party improves. This upset Sir Greville, who admits that he only hired Alan to ensure an election loss. The Conservatives don't want to be in power when the economy tanks. Alan quickly solves the problem by handing over the campaign to the inept Piers Fletcher-Dervish.

With the campaign turning into their favour, the Labour MPs panic and Paddy O'Rourke ask Alan for advice on how to lose the election. Labour is urged to present impossible promises in the House of Commons, hoping that the Liberals will attack them. Unfortunately, the Liberals won't take the bait, as they are also afraid to win the election.

Sir Greville can't see any solution, and he's worried about his stock portfolio. His energy shares are losing value rapidly. This is where Alan steps in: he buys those shares at ridiculously low prices. He then pays off Professor Eugene Quaill, who announces that his predictions were wrong: there will be North Sea oil for some time. The political parties calm down again, and Alan has made a bundle out of the panic.