Duo behind the satirical series say politicians are terrified of coming face-to-face with public
Politicians are terrified of coming face-to-face with the public, the duo behind the BBC3 satirical series The Revolution Will Be Televised have claimed, after pranking the Prime Minister in a significant security breach.
Jolyon Rubinstein of the award-winning team, presented David Cameron with a “Bullingdon Club album” and placed his arm around him the PM, whilst his security detail simply looked on, in scenes which will be screened in the Bafta-winning programme’s new series.
Rubinstein and his colleague Heydon Prowse spring comedy stunts on famous figures and corporations, in order to expose “corruption, greed and hypocrisy”, the duo said.
Their latest “hits” include a sequence in which, disguised as builders, they install a “glass ceiling” on the first floor of the Saudi Arabian Embassy, telling staff it is “to protect women from their aspirations”.
The Cameron sequence takes place at a Westminster fund-raising lunch for the Conservatives. Dressed in a pinstripe suit as fictional Conservative MP James Twattington-Berbidge, Rubinstein introduced himself to the arriving PM.
“Lovely to see you mate, how’s it going?,” says Rubinstein who hands Cameron a 1986 Bullingdon Club “album”, featuring a picture of the former member of the elitist Oxford University drinking society, and asks him to autograph it.
Cameron says “Oh, thank you very much”, before looking down at his gift. He swiftly pushes it back towards the prankster.
Rubinstein walks alongside Cameron, puts his arm around his shoulder, chiding him “Come on, Dave. George and Boris signed it. We had a bloody good time at the Buller.” Cameron escapes into the fund-raiser as his tormentor asks: “It’s not about that £400 you owe me is it, Dave?”
Rubinstein told The Independent: “It’s our must audacious stunt to date. We never thought it would be possible to do a substantial hit on the Prime Minister. His security detail were in front and behind him but I guess I just looked like a pretty good Tory in my pinstripe suit.”
Rubinstein, who has a Politics degree, said there was a serious point behind the stunt. “Cameron has always lived within the oak-lined walls of power. He was part of a Club known to have smashed up restaurants and taken money out of banks just to burn it. He has very little understanding of the needs of the electorate.”
The duo similarly “door-step” Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage and Alex Salmond during the series. “Look at the moment when Cameron realises what is actually going on,” Rubinstein said. “These politicians are scared of being faced by the public in any situations which aren’t stage-managed or they cannot control.”
The pair also gained access to Google’s London HQ in a sequence mocking the web giant’s use of an Irish subsidiary company to reduce its tax liability. They install giant coloured polystyrene letters spelling the word O’Google and instruct staff that they must now answer the phone as “O’Google” as part of a drive by the company to promote its Irish roots.
The duo attempt to crash the Summer Ball of Bell Pottinger, dressed as Hitler, in full Nazi uniform and the devil, citing the human rights records of some of the foreign governments which the lobbying firm has represented.
They are able to lock down the doors at Network Rail headquarters and tell frustrated staff who cannot leave that the inconvenience is being caused by “planned engineering works” and the wrong kind of leaves.
In several cases of corporate infiltration the duo are waved in simply because they are wearing high-visibility jackets. “Never under-estimate the value of a high-vis jacket,” said Rubenstein, who praises the “hardest-working team in television” for helping plan the stunts.
As the pair’s own visibility rises however, isn’t their card increasingly marked? “We heard from a naval intelligence source that our mug shots are everywhere,” Rubinstein said. “But we still got to the PM and got into Sandhurst. There are too many places where greed and hypocrisy are still inherent in the culture.”
The Revolution Will Be Televised, BBC3, Sunday November 10, 10.25pm