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 Thick Of It

BBC Two and BBC Four sitcom about political spin. 23 episodes (4 series), 2005 - 2012. Stars Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, James Smith, Joanna Scanlan and others.

Series 1, Episode 2

Tucker is appalled by Abbot's lack of knowledge of popular culture and tries to remedy the situation by making him watch a tape of a weekly digest of television and cinema made for the Prime Minister.

Further details

Hugh complains about how tired and overworked he is as Terri dumps another hefty pile of Departmental press releases on his desk. His inability to keep the pace has been reflected in a profile piece that antagonistic journalist Simon Hewitt has penned about him. Hewitt calls Abbot 'out of his depth... disconnected to the point of autism.'

Abbot and his Department decide that the best tactic of defence is a new policy announcement - something a bit 'funky'.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Tucker's tactic is to set Abbot up with a counter-profile story with friendly journalist Angela Heaney, but Tucker is appalled when he discovers how 'out of touch' Abbot actually is. He has no idea who the only gay in the village is and he's never heard of a chav.

Tucker suggests that Abbot watches a copy of the zeitgeist tape they make for the PM - a boiled-down weekly digest of TV and cinema.

On their mission to find a new 'funky' policy, Glenn and Ollie come up with two opposing arts policies; unable to make a choice, they decide to pitch them to a focus group. Mary, a typical middle-England single mother, reacts particularly positively to one of their arts policies. Abbot requests they get Mary in for a one-on-one chat - he wants a précised focus group. In fact, he wants everything précised, from press reports to compilation tapes, getting rid of the fat.

But Abbot's desire to create an easily digestible 'Atkins' government soon heads for disaster. Can they trust the opinion of their focussed focus group?

Is Miss Middle England really representative of Middle England? Does a policy that plays well on the doorstep also play well for the press?

And can Tucker successfully predict and counter-attack Hewitt's journalistic scourge?

Broadcast details

Thursday 26th May 2005
BBC Four
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Peter Capaldi Malcolm Tucker
Chris Addison Oliver Reeder
James Smith Glenn Cullen
Joanna Scanlan Terri Coverley
Chris Langham Hugh Abbot
Guest cast
Morwenna Banks Mary (Focus Group Lady)
Matthew Marsh Simon Hewitt (Journalist)
Writing team
Simon Blackwell Writer
Tony Roche Writer
Ian Martin Writer (Additional Material)
Sam Bain Writer (Additional Material)
Jesse Armstrong Writer (Additional Material)
Production team
Armando Iannucci Director
Adam Tandy Producer
Jon Plowman Executive Producer

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