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  • Rob

ON THIS DAY, 2005...

On May 19, 2005, 'The Thick of It' debuted on BBC Four. The programme is a British political satire television series created by Armando Iannucci, known for its sharp, quick-witted dialogue, improvisational style, and brutal and often profane depiction of the inner workings of the British government.


The series revolves around the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC) and chronicles the chaotic and often farcical lives of its ministers, advisers, and civil servants. The central character is Malcolm Tucker, the foul-mouthed and fiercely aggressive Director of Communications, played by Peter Capaldi.

Tucker's main job is managing crises and spreading stories to the media. He often uses intimidation and manipulation to achieve his goals.

Key Characters

  • Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi): The ruthless and highly influential Director of Communications known for his volcanic temper and inventive swearing.

  • Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham): The hapless Minister for Social Affairs, constantly struggling to stay afloat amid political turmoil (Series 1-2).

  • Nicola Murray (Rebecca Front): Abbot's successor, equally overwhelmed and ineffectual (Series 3-4).

  • Ollie Reeder (Chris Addison): An ambitious special adviser with questionable ethics.

  • Glenn Cullen (James Smith): A veteran civil servant who is often caught between his conscience and his career.

Style and Influence

'The Thick of It' employs a cinéma-vérité style, featuring handheld cameras and naturalistic performances to create a sense of realism.

The series is well-known for its improvisational elements, with actors often contributing to the dialogue to enhance authenticity.


The show received critical acclaim for its incisive satire and outstanding performances, particularly Peter Capaldi's portrayal of Malcolm Tucker. It has been praised for its realistic depiction of political life and its clever, biting humour.

'The Thick of It' won several awards, including BAFTAs for Best Situation Comedy and Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for Capaldi.


'The Thick of It' has had a significant cultural impact, influencing how political satire is approached in television. Armando Iannucci later adapted similar themes for the American audience with the HBO series 'Veep', which shares much of the same DNA as 'The Thick of It'.

Malcolm Tucker's character became particularly iconic, often cited as one of the greatest TV characters in British television history.

Overall, 'The Thick of It' remains a landmark series in British comedy, remembered for its sharp, acerbic take on modern politics and its unforgettable characters.


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