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Party Games was a politically-themed Georgeland comedy television series, centred around the life and career of an upwardly-mobile, but very corrupt and thorougly unlikable, politician. The series starred Ron Ellis as greasy, manipulative, unpleasant and narcissistic MP Simon Wolfe. Wolfe's political affiliation was deliberately left unspecified. The series was created by Ben Hope and Tony Prentice, who had previously written another, similar series, The Statesman, where the MP's politics were more explicit.
Party Games ran for 5 series of 13 episodes each, from September 1994 until October 1999. The show was highly acclaimed and never missed by a number of high-profile politicians, including Noel Quarton, Campbell Rhodes and Michael Fisch.

Characters

  • Simon Wolfe (Ron Ellis) was a 35-year-old backbencher, elected to his seat after (falsely) implicating his predecessor in a child sex scandal. He was a shameless womaniser (though most women found him repulsive) and took bribes without a second thought. Throughout the series it was implied, though never explicitly stated, that Wolfe had a number of 'kinky' habits, and possibly that he was latently homosexual. Wolfe believed in nothing, and sought political power for his own interests alone. His party affiliation was never stated, though it was clear from dialogue his party was in government, which would make him either Labour or United Islands Liberal Party, unless the series was not set in the present day. He was terrified, however, of the wrath of the Chief Whip (see below), and devised a number of elaborate schemes to avoid the Whip catching on to his activities.
  • Howard Welsh (Roger Cobb), the Chief Whip, was mean-spirited and vindictive, and despised Wolfe with a firey passion. Many of the episodes focused around their mutual loathing, and Welsh's attempts to 'catch' Wolfe in the act, which he never achieved. In the last episode of series 3, Welsh was implicated in a corruption scandal and forced to resign (though it was Wolfe who was the real culprit). At the end of series 4, Welsh returned and tried to kill Wolfe by blowing up his car. In series 5, Welsh is in prison, but manages to orchestrate Wolfe's final downfall.
  • Rebecca Stevenson (Linda Muir): A House of Commons secretary, Rebecca was the object of Wolfe's (hopeless) lust in series 1.
  • Mandy Kennedy (Yvonne Grau): In series 2-4, Mandy was Wolfe's assistant, and was just as manipulative and ambitious as he, though she was much better at it. In Series 5, Kennedy had managed to swindle her way into the Senate, and by the end of the series was Prime Minister, having 'done away' with Wolfe. She slept with Wolfe in the Series 3 episode Nothing Personal; a decision she regretted so much she started to plot Wolfe's eventual downfall, which she achieved at the end of the series with the aid of the former Chief Whip.

Plot

Series 1

In the first series of the show (1994), Wolfe is determined to advance his career, having just been elected to Parliament. To that end, he tries to ingratiate himself with the Prime Minister, only to be rudely shown the door before he can even get an audience. Wolfe then decides to plot the PM's overthrow, but is unable to get very far before Welsh rumbles him. Wolfe then decides to vote against the latest piece of legislation in order to start a backbench revolt, but no other MPs will support him. Welsh tries to have Wolfe disendorsed by the party, but Wolfe stacks his constituency party with supporters, and then pulls off a great win on his policy committee, which leaves him in the PM's good books. Welsh vows to get him in the end, and thwarts the PM's plan to appoint Wolfe as a Parliamentary Private Secretary. Wolfe hires a hitman to try to assassinate the Chief Whip, but the hitman gets drunk and accidentally kills the wrong man, which leads to a police investigation. Terrified he'll be caught, Wolfe manages to shift the blame onto a fellow MP, Martha Briggs, who turned down Wolfe's offer of sex. Briggs is arrested, and during her trial tries to implicate Wolfe, who manages to avoid the blame by means of an impassioned speech in the Commons. Coming across as an innocent victim, Wolfe recieves an outpouring of support for the community. At the end of the first series, Wolfe is appointed to be the Deputy Whip, but Welsh vetoes his appointment by trapping him into a sex scandal with a married woman, and Wolfe returns to the backbench baying for blood.

Series 2

As the second series (1995) begins, Wolfe has become the Chairman of the House of Commons Committee on Finance, which he is using to funnel government money to himself by means of a slush fund, in which he is aided by three other MPs. Wolfe's new assistant, Mandy, helps him pick out a new $3 million mansion, which immediately attracts media scrutiny. To make things worse, the Prime Minister is under fire for a contraversial Supreme Court appointment. Wolfe arranges to open up another Supreme Court slot by setting up the Chief Justice in a sting operation, and forcing his resignation. Wolfe uses his position on the Justice Committee to get the ear of the Prime Minister, and recommends his old professor to the PM for appointment to the Court. The professor in question turns out to be a pedophile, and the Prime Minister is forced to resign over the matter. Wolfe, with the assistance of Mandy, manages the leadership campaign of a senior minister in order to arrange a Cabinet post for himself; but his candidate loses severely, and Wolfe is punished by having his Committee chairmanship taken away from him. Welsh is delighted, and is himself promoted into the ministry. However, the new Chief Whip is easily manipulated by Mandy, and after Wolfe gets away with bringing prostitutes to the House of Commons, Welsh begs the PM to let him return to the Whip's job. At the end of the series, Welsh is again Chief Whip, and Wolfe is once again a lowly backbencher.

Series 3

The third series (1996) saw Wolfe attempt to become Speaker after the general election, but Welsh thwarts his plans. Mandy attempts to seduce Welsh, but to no avail, and embarrasses herself severely in the process. Wolfe works on the Deputy Whip, Sandra Kelly, and gets her into bed and therefore disables her as an adversary, but Kelly turns out to have planned it all along, and Wolfe is literally caught with his trousers down. Welsh demands his resignation, but instead, Wolfe defects to form his own party. His new party lasts for one day, before Welsh, under pressure from the new Prime Minister, is demeaningly forced to ask Wolfe to stay for the sake of party unity. Wolfe, fresh from his triumph and with the scandal fading, makes several appearances on TV and makes a complete dill of himself, until Mandy helps him fix his image and appear more genial. Mandy ends up in bed with Wolfe, who gloats and gloats about it, forcing Mandy to seek out Welsh and propose an alliance to bring Wolfe down. Welsh catches Wolfe red-handed in a corruption scandal but Wolfe manages to shift the blame onto Welsh, forcing the Whip to resign. Mandy had planned this all along, however, and orchestrates for a new Whip to come to power - and this one is even worse.

Series 4

Series 4 went to air in 1997. Wolfe had now become a Parliamentary Secretary, and seemed to be on the road to success. But Mandy is now a fully-fledged mole, and is leaking all kinds of embarrassing information to Welsh, who leaks it to the press. When Wolfe is uncovered with a Cayman Islands slush fund, he resigns and begs the forgiveness of the electorate - with Mandy's media training, he is convincing. Wolfe pretends to be a born-again Christian, and his 'rehabilitation' results in him keeping his job and being seen as a 'man of character', despite all his past transgressions. Mandy, seeing an opportunity to help herself, offers Wolfe the chance to become Prime Minister by organising a backbench revolt against the sitting PM over abortion legislation, with Wolfe leading the dissenters. The government collapses, and a general election is held, which the government loses. Wolfe is made a Shadow Minister, and the new Opposition Leader is easily manipulated by Mandy. Wolfe seems on the fast track, but at the end of the series, Welsh, infuriated by everything he has seen, blows up Wolfe's car in the House of Commons carpark.

Series 5

After a one-year gap, the fifth and final series began airing in 1999. Wolfe has survived the car crash, but is now paraplegic. He is, however, faking his injuries for public sympathy. Mandy has become a Senator, and serves on the same party committees as Wolfe. Welsh is now in jail, but through Mandy, he organises for Wolfe to make a complete fool of himself and exposes his fraudulent injuries to the country. Wolfe is dumped from the shadow ministry, but manages to weasel his way back in by orchestrating a leadership coup and becomes Shadow Minister for Trade. Welsh and Mandy decide to finally end Wolfe's career, but Mandy has an ulterior motive. Welsh escapes from prison, with Mandy's covert help, in order to finally kill Wolfe. Mandy, meantime, makes nice with Wolfe, and has herself promoted into the shadow ministry. A general election is looming, and rising inflation has the government in a good position. Wolfe and Mandy conspire to bring down the Opposition Leader, and, in the penultimate episode, Wolfe is installed as Leader of the Party and Mandy as his deputy. On the eve of the election, however, which Wolfe is poised to win, Mandy and Welsh reveal detailed information about Wolfe's secret affair with the President's underaged daughter. There is a public outcry - and the irony is that this time and this time only, Wolfe is completely innocent. Wolfe is humiliated in the election and, to make things worse, Mandy easily beats him for the party leadership. Welsh, who is still at large, tries to kill Wolfe, who fights back and ends up stabbing Welsh and killing him. Wolfe is sent to prison, and in the final scene, four years later, Prime Minister Mandy Kennedy makes an announcement on TV while Wolfe, in jail, grasses up another prisoner in exchange for privileges...

List of Episodes

Mirroring Reality?

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