The last great comedy goldmine has closed down

SHARES IN comedy writers will plummet today. (But fortunately him, Jeffrey Archer sold all his on Friday).

First the Tories closed the steelworks. Then they closed the pits. Yesterday, British satirists were mourning their closure of the last great comedy goldmine in Britain. Jeffrey Archer is quitting politics. Angry scenes were witnessed in Soho as gag writers declared an all-out strike in protest. Now pensioners may face the festive season without jokes in their Christmas crackers. The army will have to be called in to write the gags for Rory Bremner. It is, quite literally, a very serious situation.

Jeffrey Archer's candidacy for the Mayor of London had promised to keep us entertained all the way to May. At the offices of Have I Got News For You, researchers had built up a huge collection of wonderful snippets, which were going to be detonated at intervals.

They say that every politician has a skeleton in his closet. Archer has a walk-in wardrobe full of them. The campaign was a period that the Conservatives were dreading. I imagine that the weekend's conversation between William Hague and Lord Archer went something like this:

"Anyway William, I don't think it's a resigning issue."

"Okay Jeffrey - I accept your resignation."

"No, I was saying, I think we can ride this one out."

"So will you announce your resignation or shall I?"

What is incredible is that the Tories ever thought that Archer was fit to run the capital. This man was their number one choice. Would you trust Jeffrey Archer? There are lies, damned lies and Jeffrey Archer's life story. Archer is now in the impossible position that no one will ever believe anything he says again. "So Jeffrey, were you the mystery second gunman in the Kennedy assassination?"

"No!"

`"Oh well - he obviously was then."

Over the years, the Archer cocktail of naff showmanship and casual disregard for the truth have provided meat and drink for hungry satirists in an age when our politicians have becoming disappointingly bland and sanitised.

When I worked on Spitting Image, Jeffrey Archer's little puppet could be brought into any sagging sketch to tell a few outrageous lies. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman once wrote a splendid Mastermind sketch in which Jeffrey Archer answered questions on the life of Jeffrey Archer. He got every answer wrong, so Magnus Magnusson got to put him straight on all the porkie pies that Archer had told about himself down through the years.

Soon afterwards, Archer was foolhardy enough to come on Clive Anderson Talks Back. "There's no beginning to your talents," said Clive as he probed the great storyteller about his duplicitous past. After the show we were treated to the real Archer, ranting and raving in the studio car park, threatening to sue if the programme was broadcast.

With this memory, I am comforted that this spectacular downfall could not have happened to a more horrible man. Don't take my word for it; go into any branch of Waterstones and ask the booksellers there if Jeffrey Archer has ever been in to sign. Ask whether he behaved with politeness and humility.

This is the sort of politician that British satirists want. The Americans have a philanderer as a president; the Russians have a drunkard. What do we get? A church-goer with a new baby on the way. So we must turn to the Conservatives to step in and rescue the British comedy industry. Immediate steps should be taken to make Jonathan Aitken the Tory candidate for Mayor of London with Neil Hamilton as his deputy. Otherwise British entertainment may never recover.

First they take away our favourite target. And now Jeffrey Archer has time to write another novel. Haven't we suffered enough?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future