THE BRITISH POLITICAL sitcom The Thick of It returns to our screens tonight, three years after the end of the third series and with the promise of plenty more political awkwardness and swearing.
For those of you not familiar with it, the BBC programme is a satirical take on the inner workings of the modern British government and when it was last on our screens it was loosely based on the New Labour UK government of the time.
This time around, with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in power, we are likely to see many of the main characters from the previous series in opposition.
They will include the programme’s protagonist, Malcolm Tucker (played by Peter Capaldi), who was the Prime Minister’s spin doctor and chief enforcer in the previous series and who gained notoriety for surreal and violent outbursts at staff and hapless ministers.
Some even speculated that the character was based on perhaps the most famous spin doctor of them all, Alastair Campbell, though the former Downing Street communications director has distanced himself from Tucker.
The Telegraph tells us that series four of the Bafta-award winning comedy will see the hapless minister of the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DOSAC), Nicola Murray, now operating as leader of the opposition, not unlike to rise of Ed Miliband as the leader of the Labour Party.
Where that leaves Tucker we’re not quite sure yet but all will be revealed tonight at 9.45pm on BBC Two.
To set you up for this evening’s season premiere, we thought we’d look back at some of the best Malcolm Tucker moments from series past.
Be warned, extremely strong language from the start:
Season 1: Hugh Abbott, the Minister heading DOSAC, is in the middle of a tricky interview about his empty second home in London when an exasperated Tucker interrupts:
Specials: With Abbot away, his junior minister at DOSAC, Ben Swain goes on Newsnight and a disastrous interview with Jeremy Paxman has inevitable consequences:
Specials: After the resignation of the unidentified ‘Prime Minister’ it’s a night of high tension at No.10 Downing Street as the government seek a successor who is not ‘Tom’ leading to much spinning and arguing:
Season 3: As Tucker meets the new Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship, Nicola Murray, they discuss everything from Russell Crowe to claustrophobia and the term ‘omnishambles’ is born:
Season 3: As Murray, goes up against her shadow in the opposition, Peter Mannion, in a radio debate Tucker goes up against his opposite number in the opposition and fireworks ensue: