The Thick Of It Series 3 Review: Department Of Political Satire

October 22, 2009 by  
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4.5THE THICK OF IT: Saturday 24th October, BBC2, 10:10pm Alert Me

When we interviewed In The Thick Of It writer Jesse Armstrong earlier this year, he told us that they use a swearing consultant to script in obscenities for dramatic effect.

If there is someone at the BBC earning their salary, then it is he.

Anyone can swear but it takes a real master to turn bad words into bombshells, which is what makes this programme so cathartically unique.

The satire doesn’t so much take-down the inner workings of British government, but utterly dismantles it with razor-witted banter and thoroughly incompetent characters. Yet despite winning awards for its first series, the show only rose to mainstream fame after this year’s hit British satire In The Loop, which had film critics everywhere busting out new synonyms left right and new-labour centre.

Consequently the return of the Malcolm Tucker – played by the rapid Peter Capaldi – will be one of the most eagerly awaited TV comedy events of the year and after the MPs dragged themselves through the PR sewer system last summer, this latest round of politician-kicking should is just as frenzied as the first.

The first episode opens in the midst of a frantic cabinet re-shuffle and even before the opening credits have rolled, Malcolm is gunning people down with bullets of lethally observed slander. “That man is so dense that light actually bends around him! Now come on people, I’ve got a ‘to do’ list longer than a f*****g Leonard Cohen song!”

Within minutes we have a new departmental minister to step into the shoes of the distantly out-of-touch Hugh Abbot who was coincidentally dropped nearly as quickly as the actor who played him back in the first series. Nicola Murray (played by an excellent Rebecca Front) is the latest poor fool to head the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship and Tucker wastes no time in tearing her a new one. (“you step out of line and they’ll be all over you like pigeons on a chip”.)

If you enjoyed the first helping from Armando Iannucci, then this certainly won’t disappoint.

Sean Marland