What has happened to the Thick of It?

I absolutely adore Armando Iannucci’s Thick of It and suspect I am not alone on the political blogsphere in this. Comparisons with the equally excellent Yes Minister are somewhat counter-productive because both shows are products of their era and both are therefore brilliant for different reasons.  Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, is an iconic figure for the generation of spin; where media image matters more than principled politics. However, in the latest episode it is Tucker’s striking of Glenn Cullen (James Smith) that seems symptomatic of Thick of It‘s decline. The hilarity of Malcolm’s temperament is that it is all pretend and overblown not that he would actually action any of his threats; thus, it is almost cartoon-like violence.

Following the loss of Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham) Tucker is now one of the main reasons Thick of It still has funny moment.  Abbot’s hapless blundering was much better and far more comedic than Nicola Murry’s. No matter how hard Rebecca Front tries she is a sour as her character is portrayed in the fictional press in the Iannucci’s imagined world. Now the team around Murry does not gel as well because they were all conceived as foils for Abbot not Murray so a new character or two might be in order. Although sometimes individually funny Ollie, Terri and Glenn look out of place in the new realities of the Thick of It universe.

Maybe more from the opposition would be nice too; as the Thick of It government is clearly Labour in power a satirical slant on the incoming Cameroon’s would add a welcome dimension to the show.  Despite claims the show isn’t party political (it isn’t, when the ‘Opposition’ were a focus of a 14 minute special they were equally lambasted) it is perhaps worrying that the Thick of It should lose touch with current political developments as well as some of the spirit that has animated it.


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4 responses to “What has happened to the Thick of It?”

  1. jim jay says :

    Sadly I agree. It has lost direction a bit – I think partly because Peter Capaldi’s brilliance is now expected to be centre stage when previously he was the whirlwind who came in, wrecked havok and then left. Now he never leaves.

    The previous minister was wonderful and I miss him.


  2. Charlotte Gore says :

    Hmm…. I think the difference in this series is that it represents the latest development in the Labour Government – new Prime Minister and everything going wrong. The Minister is picked from the ranks of backbencher without anyone really knowing anything about her because there’s simply no-one else (whereas in the real world they’ve ended up going through the Lords to fill these gaps).

    The foul ups and catastrophes are getting worse – but worse is they’re leaked and exposed through carelessness… and so, Tucker, in this series, is not in control, despite his skills.

    I think the point is that Tucker is beginning to look more and more ridiculous, more pointless and he’s cracking up.

    It might not be as funny, but it’s still extremely powerful satire as far as I’m concerned.


  3. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Agreed about Tucker; probably why his character is changing like it is. Me too.


    This maybe true but I still feel that it’s not as good. We weren’t really told how Hugh was selected and it was probably better for it. Agreed about Tucker but I think that detracts a bit from his character because the way he always triumphed actually was part of the funiness; it was a bit like a cartoon with Tucker’s ending being the fairy tale one.

    Still think him striking Glenn took it too far and detracted from his character and while it is still good saitire I think to remain so it still has to be funny.


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  1. We Heart ‘The Thick Of It’? at The Charlotte Gore Blog - November 11, 2009

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