BBC confirms The Thick Of It Series 4 details

Thursday 12th July 2012, 3:18pm

The Thick Of It. Image shows from L to R: Oliver Reeder (Chris Addison), Terri Coverley (Joanna Scanlan), Nicola Murray (Rebecca Front), Glenn Cullen (James Smith), Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi). Copyright: BBC.The BBC has today released further details about the upcoming fourth series of its hit satirical political comedy series The Thick Of It, which is returning to TV after a break of nearly three years.

The new series, which will consist of seven 30-minute episodes, will broadcast on BBC Two this autumn. Creator Armando Iannucci has hinted that it will be set against the backdrop of a major political inquiry - a reference to the real-life circumstances of the Leveson Inquiry into the press.

In a statement, the BBC said: "Government embarrassment, ministerial cock-up, coalition rows, backroom deals, policy U-turns, spin-doctoring, political back-stabbing, wild media speculation, and more time spent with one's family, it can only be the eagerly anticipated return of The Thick Of It."

As the last series was broadcast under Gordon Brown's Labour administration in the autumn of 2009, viewers can expect to see a number of changes. The characters of Nicola Murray MP and foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, in roles reprised by the BAFTA winners Rebecca Front and Peter Capaldi respectively, are still in the show - but are now 'consigned to Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition'. Series 4 will see the duo desperately hoping for a return to power.

The show will also see the return of hapless civil servants Oliver Reeder (Chris Addison), Terri Coverley (Joanna Scanlan) and Glenn Cullen (James Smith) - the trio still struggling to keep the press from realising what a mess their department is behind-the-scenes.

In a set-up to closely mirror the UK's current real-life political scene, the series will also see a fictional coalition government in power. Peter Mannion (played by Roger Allam) is the new Secretary of State for The Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DOSAC), supported by his team of special advisors commanded by Number 10's Director of Communications Stewart Pearson (Vincent Franklin). Mannion will find many of his plans thwarted by his new coalition partner, DOSAC's Junior Minister Fergus Williams MP (Geoffrey Streatfeild).

Many of the other supporting characters are also set to reappear, with the cast list also including Will Smith, Ben Willbond and Miles Jupp.

The seven episodes are again a combination of scripted scenes and improvisation. The show's writing team for Series 4 includes Tony Roche, Simon Blackwell, Ian Martin, Will Smith, Roger Drew and Sean Gray.

Creator Armando Iannucci says: "This series takes The Thick Of It into exciting and uncharted territory: a new coalition Government, and Malcolm and Nicola fretting in the wings. For the first time too a storyline takes us all the way through the series right to the bitter, bitter end, with Government and Opposition convulsed in an incident that questions every political convention imaginable, but in a funny way."

BBC Two Controller Janice Hadlow comments: "I am delighted to welcome The Thick Of It back to BBC Two. It is an essential part of the BBC Two comedy offering this year. A new coalition Government, what better time for a new series of The Thick Of It."

Mark Freeland, the BBC's Head of Comedy, adds: "I'm excited to see The Thick Of It return to our screens. With an outstanding cast and team, it is still at the bleeding edge of British politics, one of the freshest and most biting satires you'll find on TV. No other show could coin the term 'Omnishambles' and see it become part of the political lexicon."

Scheduling details have not been announced, but the series is expected to begin transmission in September.

Here's a reminder of some of the action from the last series:

Can't see a video here? Watch this clip on bbc.co.uk

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