Written by John Butler
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Topics: Tony Blair, Britain

Monday, 18 September 2006

image for Blair Says He Will Quit As Soon As Season 7 Of The Golden Girls Is Released On DVD
Tony Blair has promised to leave office the day the seventh series of The Golden Girls (above) is released

Tony Blair has confirmed that he will step down as prime minister of Great Britain as soon as the seventh and final series of his all time favourite sitcom, The Golden Girls, is released on DVD.

Mr Blair said the imminent Labour conference would be his last as Labour leader but because Touchstone, who control the sitcom's issuing rights, have yet to confirm a date for the DVD's release, the Prime Minister was unable himself to give a precise date for his own departure.

He also apologised for Labour's conduct in recent weeks admitting it "has not been our finest hour", and adding, "It kind of reminds me of that classic episode where Blanche and Rose kick Dorothy out of their Elvis Presley fan club".

Allies have suggested Mr Blair will announce a timetable early in the New Year and hand over power in May. The PM said he hopes soon afterwards to be "curled up on some couch" watching what he described as the "momentous and tear-jerking" final episode where Dorothy marries Blanche's uncle, Lucas Hollingsworth played by Leslie Nielson of Naked Gun fame.

Mr Blair and his supporters will be hoping his statement will end the civil war that has broken out in the past month among Labour MPs over his departure.

A few Labour MPs however are already saying Mr Blair's statement will not be enough to quell dissent among Brown supporters. A few of Brown's close associates contend that the PM's fondness for the Golden Girls will only alienate him further from the Chancellor, who himself is said to prefer Murphy Brown.

Newcastle North MP Doug Henderson, a close ally of Gordon Brown, said, "Murphy Brown was a savagely funny satire on the day-to-day goings-on in the world of television journalism and is far more multi-layered and socially resonant than the Golden Girls ever was".

Blair though has steadfastly maintained his adoration of the "girls" (his affectionate term for the series) and conceded that the many political setbacks he has suffered of late were mitigated somewhat by the side-splitting adventures of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia.

"I'll readily admit that that sitcom has got me through some pretty dark times", he said forthrightly.

Recalling one such dark time, he said, "When my anti-terror bill was defeated in the Commons last November, I felt completely numb. Then I thought, well, there's nothing I can do except put it to the back of my mind and try get on with things. So I immediately went back to Number 10, cracked open my prized 1968 Bordeaux, threw on the third series of the girls and literally laughed myself to sleep on the couch. I had a monstrous hangover but... you know what... it was worth it".

Asked about his favourite character, Blair, his face lighting up like a child's, revealed, "You know it's funny - most people assume my favourite would be Dorothy because of her droll sophistication but I've always had a big soft spot for that old southern belle Blanche. She's so feisty. As we say in this business, she knows what she wants and boy does she know how to get it".

Despite Blair's obvious passion for the show, criticism from current and former Labour party members has continued unabated.

Don Touhig, another Browne ally who was sacked as a defence minister in May's government reshuffle, said, "It doesn't seem to me that the public knows any more about the PM's retirement plans. How many people out there know or really care when season seven of the Golden Girls is released. The show wasn't even that good. Plus Estelle Getty's character - the old one - is possibly one of the most irritating in American sitcom history".

Hearing of Touhig's criticism, Blair said, "I wouldn't be so vain as to underestimate the British public's knowledge of eighties American sitcoms. And for Mr. Touhig to say Estelle Getty's character was irritating I think shows a shocking level of disrespect towards one of America's finest comedic actresses".

As it happens, Blair is the first Prime Minister to have it so his departure date co-incides with some random cultural event since Clement Atlee stated in 1949 that he would leave office the day George Bernard Shaw published his next play - a promise he was unable to live up to following Shaw's untimely and shocking death in 1950 at the age of 94.

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