Starting today, and every Friday, I’ll be taking a look back at the show which starred Peter Capaldi in the role of Malcolm Tucker - The Thick Of It. If you've never given it a go then you really should as it's a very funny British satirical comedy which pokes fun at the inner workings of modern British government. Even if you're not into politics, there is plenty to have you laughing, not least of which are Malcolm Tucker's fantastic quotable lines. One of the earliest things we ever hear is him saying is “He’s as useless as a Marzipan dildo.”
From the very beginning of the first episode it's made clear just what kind of person Malcolm Tucker is. Everyone is scared of him, including Cliff Lawton MP. Quite rightly too as in his role as Director of Communications for the Government (aka the Prime Ministers Enforcer) Tucker is there to sack Lawton, in his own unique way - by talking him into resigning and then getting him to announce it was all his own idea
With Lawton gone, Hugh Abbot comes in as the newly appointed Minister for Social Affairs, aided by his team Glenn Cullen, Ollie Reeder and Terri Coverley. Abbot's been speaking with the Prime Minister about his idea for a 'Snooper Force' to crack down on benefit cheats, the PM thinks it's the kind of thing they should be doing and so Hugh gets to work arranging a press conference to announce his great idea.
Whilst on route to the conference he get’s a phone call from our favorite Scotsman, Malcolm Tucker. Tucker tells him that even though the PM told Hugh the Snooper Force is the kind of thing they should be doing, “Should does not mean yes.” It's now down to Hugh and his team to come up with something equally amazing to reveal to the nation's press who have all gathered in a school 200 miles outside of London for the big announcement.
Ollie Reeder calls his ex-girlfriend Angela, a journalist who had fed the story to earlier, and tells her that he was wrong, and the official word is the Snooper Force idea was made up by a disgruntled civil servant. They arrive at the school and make the announcement that there is no announcement, just that their department is doing its job fantastically well. They return to London to find out that the press conference was considered so boring that none of the journalists bothered to even cover it in the papers. Result.
Hugh is talking to Glenn when, out of nowhere, Tucker appears behind him. Turns out the PM ran with the Snooper Force idea after all, and now Tucker instructs them to call all the journalists and convince them that he said the Snooper Force is a go at the press conference. That's the same press conference in which they deliberately didn’t mention the Snooper Force at all. If you're confused, think how Hugh feels? He's "not quite sure what level of reality I’m supposed to be operating on." How's he going to explain this? Malcolm Tucker tells him how with the 'non-sweary quote of the episode'...
“Look, I tell them that you said it, they believe you said it. They don’t really believe you said it, they know that you never said it. But it’s in their interest to say that you said it! Because if they don’t say that you said it, they’re not going to get what you say tomorrow, or the next day when I decide to tell them what it is you’re saying.”
As the team call round all the press outlets, Angela confronts Ollie about the three contradictory stories she sent in and tells him that one of her coworkers went out and bought her a pair of flip flops and put “A fucking porn picture of a girl sucking a big cock, and they wrote: Angela Heaney swallows anything.” She threatens to do a story about the "day of spin" inside the Government, that is until Malcolm Tucker puts a stop to it with the 'sweary quote of the episode'...
“Oh, wait a minute! I know why she shouldn't! Because, you know, if she did that, she'd be dead. To me, to this department, to the government. And she'll never get another story, or even a fucking whiff of a story as long as she kept her sorry, hack bitch face lingering around Westminster, because I would call every editor I know - which, obviously, that's all of them - and I'd tell them to gouge her name out of their address books so she'd never even get a job on hospital radio where the sad sack belongs. That's what I'd tell her.”Hugh explains to the press "I didn't say we weren't doing it, which was as good as saying we were", and after a very long day goes home, but not before requesting a new driver due to inappropriate smiling and smirking.
A brilliant start to an amazingly funny series.
Andrew Jero lives in Iowa and has a very strong love of both Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He enjoys acting and writing plays, television scripts, and short stories. Follow Andrew on Twitter.