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The nexus of power between journalists, politicians and police in the UK comes under satirical scrutiny

Saturday’s 50,000 strong demo was largely ignored – will ridicule work?

richard beanJames Pickford in the Financial Times reports that the nexus of power between journalists, politicians and police in the UK comes under satirical scrutiny in a new play – Great Britain – opening on Monday at the National Theatre.

The playwright, Richard Bean, graduated in social psychology and worked as an occupational psychologist, before moving into stand-up comedy and then written drama. (Photograph by Greg Funnell )

Satire helps!

we tighten our belts 3Billie Piper is Paige Britain, an ambitious news editor at the Free Press, a fictional tabloid newspaper, and Rupert Vansittart is a Tory prime minister in the play which focusses on press and political scandals of the past decade including hacking and MPs’ expenses.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, the National’s artistic director, insisted Ms Piper’s character was not based on Rebekah Brooks, the former News of the World editor who was this week cleared of phone-hacking charges at the Old Bailey with trial costs estimated at £60m – and more to follow.

The play will open without preview performances. Critics will be invited to Monday’s premiere after dress rehearsals with a small, selected audience this week. Tickets for the first fortnight of performances went on sale on Wednesday. Those for the rest of the run, which ends on August 23, will be available from Thursday

Richard Bean said that the play was inspired by press misdemeanours, but none of the powerful groups at its centre came out well: “Press, police and politicians are essentially in bed with each other, and this threatens democracy.”

fish organiseWill enough authors, cartoonists and comedians unite to laugh corporate-political alliances, of whatever party, permanently out of office?