Revisiting THE THICK OF IT Season 1 Episode 3

Andrew Jero revisits another episode of the British satirical comedy, The Thick Of It.

The final episode of series one hilariously shows the pressure put upon ministers for often trivial things, and introduces a key character in Dan Miller. Hugh is trying to talk to Glenn, Ollie and Terri about his supper with the Prime Minister but is constantly interrupted by the excitement caused by Dan arriving in Hugh’s office. He's a junior minister who's had some success and is the current golden boy.

As Glenn, Ollie and Terri all fawn over Dan, Hugh takes a call from Malcolm. But rather quickly Malcolm gets a call from someone more important - Tom (an important character who will be bought up in a later episode). I think this is the episode where Peter Capaldi really starts to shine as Malcolm Tucker, he was brilliant from the opening installment, but from here he starts to have a lot of fun with the character and really delivers some of the funniest material, including an interesting food metaphor whilst discussing with Tom the recent catastrophe concerning the focus group issue:
MALCOLM: Yeah, I know we did take a hit over the focus group thing but it wasn’t a big hit. Oh yeah, say’s who? Oh the Prime Minister told you that – look at you. Look, I can only cook with what I’ve been given you know? It’s like “Ready, Steady, Cook”. You give me Hugh Abbot; I give you bangers and mash, but if you give me Jerry from the Home Office, well, then I can fucking raise it to risotto and scallops. You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah, okay, okay. (hangs up the phone)

Sam! Sam! Can you get me Terri Coverley and Glenn Cullen and make them an appointment to come over? I just feel like I’ve got to shout at some people you know? Actually, get me John at Culture on the phone, think I’ll have a bit of a shout now!
Hugh joins Terri and Glenn as they head over to Number 10, and we get some very amusing dialogue from them on route:
HUGH: Is this tie alright?
TERRI: It’s fine.
HUGH: I don’t want to come across as some sort of, you know?
GLENN: Sales rep.
HUGH: What? Do I look like a bloody sales rep?
GLENN: No, no, no. No, no, no, no, it’s fine. (looking at his tie) What are those? They’re little Hippo’s aren’t they?
HUGH: I don’t know what they are actually, I think they’re unidentified amusing creatures.
TERRI: Ugh, I hate this. Being called in for a bollocking from Tucker just because he’s been twatted by the PM.
GLENN: All he’ll do is spread it all over the office a bit, and then we’ll be off.
HUGH: Yes, exactly, and we’ve got every reason to be very happy bunnies! Day three of the report stage, and it’s all gone like a dream. A good dream, I mean, not one of those where you can’t move your legs.
GLENN: Absolutely, no.
HUGH: You sure about this tie?
TERRI: It’s good, it’s funny.
HUGH: Funny!
GLENN: (whispering) Terri!
HUGH: Fucking Hell! This is political breakthrough night, I don’t want to get big laughs off my clothes!
GLENN: It’s not funny, ha, ha.
HUGH: Maybe I should go without the tie.
GLENN: It’s not a laugh, Hugh.
HUGH: It’s quite informal, fuck yes, wish me luck! I’m going to go without the tie.
We then discover the real story of the episode, Hugh's Notting Hill flat, and how he wants to keep it so he has somewhere to sleep, but as his own house is only 20 miles away he really should be commuting - especially in light of the new empty housing bill which Hugh helped put in place! Glenn's put it on the market, but isn't accepting any offers. They think it's a win win situation, if the press find out about the flat they can just say nobody's buying.

Later when Hugh goes in for an interview with Angela Heany, she repeatedly asks him about his flat. Malcolm gets wind of what's going on and hot foots it across the City to give Hugh the bollocking of his life. Queue the sweary quote of the episode:
MALCOLM:  What the fuck is going on with your second flat, I told you about that. Why the fuck are you talking to this stupid CUNT! How am I supposed to control what’s going on, if I don’t know, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON! You’re a fucking prick! An absolute cunt you understand that! (unknowable masses of swearing) So get back in there and wipe this bullshit up!
They return to the office to discuss the interview and Malcolm tells them that the flat sold.
MALCOLM: Okay, we got rid of it, we got a break! The flat sold!
HUGH: What?
MALCOLM: To the Asian family for forty grand under the asking price but that’s alright.
HUGH: What’s happening?
TERRI: Malcolm.
TERRI: We’re too late.
TERRI: All the papers have got a hold of it.
TERRI: The Express has been making offers on it at the asking price and they haven’t been accepted.
MALCOLM: We’ve got to stall.
HUGH: What? This is madness! I just own a flat, I haven’t raped somebody.
TERRI: Yeah, they’re calling the scandal, Flat Gate.
Hugh and Malcolm go and talk in his office and bring us the non-sweary quote of the episode:
HUGH: Well what do you want me to do resign? (He looks at Malcolm who is seriously considering it.) No, no. No, I’m not going over this.
The rest of the episode the characters spend a good 10 minutes discussing who should resign. It's been days since the scandal leaked and an inquiry is not looking good so someone has to go. Hugh confides in Dan, saying that every day he stays on is another year until he can return to office. He makes a flippant remark that if he'd just resigned on day 1 then he'd be Prime Minister by now!

Malcolm is content with either Glenn or Ollie taking the fall, but Malcolm decides it has to be him, and so he heads off to Number 10 to hand in his resignation to Malcolm. What do you know, Dan has beat him to it! It seems that Dan thought that perhaps if he resigns now, he could be Prime Minister in the near future.

As the episode ends Glenn reads the PM’s response to Dan’s resignation letter, it's full of praise. Hugh looks slightly forlorn thinking that the praise could have been his! Finally, not wanting to make the 20 mile commute, Hugh asks Glenn if he can crash at his place.

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.
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