If you’ve not yet caught The Thick Of It – Armando Ianucci’s fantastic satire on the inside world of New Labour powerbroking – then where have you been? It’s back, and still brilliant.
Peter Capaldi as a Scottish version of Alastair Campbell is fantastic yet again, and so reminiscent of some people I’ve met (and worked with, near enough) it’s scary. Down in the No.10 Policy Unit – really a boiler room where young Turks are forced to spin as though their lives depended on it (which in a sense they do), he is trying to stop a story about MoD overspending getting prime position on the news. “RIGHT!” he roars. “Send out statistics, everything you’ve got about anything, and tell them that if they haven’t mastered it before they print a f-ing line then I’ll be up their arses like a Biafran ferret!!”
Or when he ambles over to ITN to try to stop a story about a hapless minister (Chris Langham) being fronted by a furious woman about her mother’s care – in a clear echo of Tony Blair being confronted in the same way during the election – he goes into the edit suite and says “God, what a tit. He’s a tit, isn’t he? But come on, that’s enough titting. No, you’ve got to give him a couple of serious. Two tits, then that’s enough.” Meanwhile he has sent his dogs out to sniff out anything bad about the woman; they’ve gone through her bins and found nothing. They call him and he takes the call just outside the edit suite. “Is that right?” he whispers. “That’s what you’ve got?”
And then strides back into the edit suite. “She’s BNP,” he says flatly. “Standing in Stamford Bridge. You can’t go ahead with that, she’s BNP. How will you [he says to the editor] look when that comes out?”
Catch it as often as possible.