Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

A Great DVD: The Thick of it.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 9, 2010 in Movies/TV/DVDs |

Tucker's Law.
Tucker’s Law.

It is now standard practice to proclaim that “The Thick Of It” is the Yes, Minister of the noughties, and that’s a fair assessment, but it’s more than that.

For a start, the exceptionally strong language in it has to be mentioned as a a) warning to fans of the more genteel humour of Yes, Minister, but also b) because its use is so creative that it has become a defnitive creative comedy feature in its own right.

The basis is that it is set in the minister’s office at the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC) and follows the attempts by two emotionally shattered nervous wreck New Labour ministers and their staff to craft and communicate “initatives” under the watchful eye and vicious tongue of Downing Street enforcer, Malcolm Tucker, who becomes the de facto star of the show with his vitriol, menace and extraordinary turn of phrase (“Working hard? I’m working so hard I’m sweating spinal fluid here!”)

Aside from Peter Capaldi’s masterclass as Tucker, the tone of the show is fascinating to political anoraks as an all-too-real parody of New Labour’s obsession with message control, whereby the minister and his/her staff are literally making policies up on the hoof to react to the whims of newspaper editors. It’s very funny, and not a little too close for comfort.

2 Comments

Daniel Sullivan
Jul 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm

An interesting counter point is Peter Capaldi’s other civil service role in the Torchwood mini series last summer which was incredibly subtle and drew you into his dilemma as the mandarin implementing policy that grew to be more and more appalling.


 
Jason O
Jul 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I was actually very impressed with that mini series, as an example of grown up sci-fi. The only thing that irritated me about it was the “evil” prime minister. I actually think it is very hard for a genuinely “evil” person to get elected to high office. Even Nixon had his good points, and if anything, was probably closer to being mentally ill than bad.


 

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