Happiness Is A Warm Gun is the first episode of the first series of The New Statesman, and introduces corrupt and scheming right-wing Conservative politician Alan Beresford B'Stard. The episode was first aired on 13 September 1987.
A routine political drive by the Labour and Liberal parties ends in a horrific car accident, preventing them from successfully campaigning for the Parliamentary seat for the constituency of Haltemprice, East Yorkshire. The incident leaves only Conservative MP Alan Beresford B'Stard and Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party able to campaign and attend the election results ceremony, during which Alan is declared the victor.
Whilst giving his victory speech alongside his wife Sarah, he sorrowfully asks the crowd to join him in a minute of silence in respect of his injured opponents. As they bow their heads and begin, Alan raises a cheeky smirk revealing that the car crash may not have been an accident after all. The Chief Constable of East Yorkshire, Sir Malachi Jellicoe, uses the silence as an opportunity to whisper demands into Alan's ear; he knows B'Stard had something to do with the crash, and in exchange for keeping quiet about it, Jellicoe tells him he has "a law I want passing."
The following day, Alan smugly drives to the House of Commons in his Bentley, and begins a tour of the most important building in the country. In his new office, he rehearses his first speech as MP for Haltemprice, which makes clear Jellicoe's desire to arm the British Police. His new assistant, Piers Fletcher Dervish, applauds him for his glorious speech. Alan takes Piers' praise as a negative and throws the speech away, and we see that this is not Alan's first draft, as there is screwed-up paper all over the office floor. The phone rings - it is Jellicoe. Alan tells him that the bill will be voted on that afternoon, and that he should be "shooting suspects by dinner time." His colleague Sir Stephen Baxter tries to help Alan with his speech-writing by reading out his own oration, which Alan later steals. He takes his argument to the House, and is met by rapturous cheers and applause, apart from an anti-legislation argument from Labour backbencher Bob Crippen. The law gets passed by a majority of 11, and Alan is later seen gushing to Sarah over the phone. After ending the call to his wife, he is seen declaring a trip to Stringfellows to "commit adultery." In a cutaway, Sarah is seen reclining back into bed with her lesbian lover, Beatrice Protheroe.
Later, Alan and Sarah bicker in church over the Bishop of Haltemprice's decision to vote against the bill, and Sarah reminds him that he only got the job because her father is the leader of the local Conservative Party. Sir Malachi leaves in a hurry following an alleged report of "witchcraft" over his police radio.
Alan decides to meet with his business consultant, Norman, in a disused train carriage. Norman is on the run from the authorities for fraud, and is seen burning paperwork as Alan arrives. The reason for their meeting though, is because Norman has found a gun supplier for the police; a bargain at £10 a piece, but that's because they're manufactured from recycled frying pans and will probably blow up when fired. Norman charges Alan £2000 for information on the manufacturer, and declares that he will be using the money for gender reassignment to escape the law.
Alan drives to the Hangman's Knot Inn and meets his friend Sidney Bliss, a former hangman from the days of Capital Punishment, who is now working as a pub landlord but longs for the return of the hangman's noose. Alan finds Sir Malachi at one of the tables, apparently talking to an imaginary friend. Alan demands the dossier on the car crash that would implicate him in the crime, and Sir Malachi responds by retrieving a Colt 45 revolver from his bag and brandishes it about. It is now clear that Sir Malachi is suffering from severe mental health issues and answers to an invisible friend he calls "Almighty," and as well as the gun law now wants to criminalise Atheism. Alan looks on in horror, and reluctantly agrees to try, and plays to Sir Malachi's condition by suggesting that Lucifer may be at work with regards to the Bishop of Haltemprice's views. Sir Malachi gives Alan his dossier, and then leaves, allowing Alan to make a phone call to the Deputy Chief Constable.
Sir Malachi confronts the Bishop in the middle of a service and tries to shoot him, but thanks to Alan's warning to the Deputy, the police were able to hide in plain sight in the choir, allowing them to pounce on Sir Malachi as he tried to kill the Bishop. DCC Ginsburg congratulates Alan on his tip-off, and Alan responds by playing to Ginsburg's ego and calling him "Chief Constable." Ginsburg comments that Sir Malachi had been hearing voices ten years before even the introduction of police radios, and asks if he could repay his debt to Alan. Alan offers to sell him the cheap guns wholesale, which Ginsburg agrees.
Alan takes a victory drive down some country lanes, and draws the attention of a traffic car with a speed detector. The newly armed officers pursue Alan and try to pull him over. One of the officer brandishes a gun and tries to shoot out one of Alan's tyres, but the gun explodes and causes the police car to crash.
Rik Mayall as Alan Beresford B'Stard
Michael Troughton as Piers Fletcher Dervish
John Nettleton as Sir Stephen Baxter
Screaming Lord Sutch as Himself
R.R. Cooper as Norman Borman
Marsha Fitzalan as Sarah B'Stard
Vivien Heilbron as Beatrice Protheroe
Peter Sallis as Sidney Bliss
John Woodvine as Sir Malachi Jellicoe
Nick Stringer as Crippen
Donald Nithsdale as the Bishop
Brian Horstead as Ginsburg
- Norman's comment about an "Archer" and "a whole Jeffrey" reference a then-current libel trial against The Daily Star taken out by novelist Jeffrey Archer. In later years it was revealed that Archer had in fact paid money to a prostitute, and was jailed for perjury.
- Sir Malachi Jellicoe's delusions are an exaggeration of the real-life traits of Chief Constable James Anderton, GMP.
- When former hangman Sidney Bliss pulls a pint for Alan, the sound of a trapdoor falling can be heard.
- The introduction of Norman Borman also begins that character's gradual transformation into a woman.
- Police Officer characters are depicted as armed from this episode onwards.
- Sarah's bisexuality.