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  • Calling this sharp and funny just doesn't do it justice. It's a bit of a cliché to describe it as "Yes Minister" for the 21st century, but it does fit rather well.

    Any British person who has followed the news over the last few years will be painfully familiar with "spin" as practised by the current government of the United Kingdom. Where "Yes Minister" dealt with hapless ministers being manipulated by the civil-service mandarins (the power brokers of the time) ... "The Thick Of It" deals primarily with hapless ministers being manipulated by spin doctors (the current power brokers). Spot the difference?

    Series one kicks off with the clinical execution of a cabinet minister (department of "Social Affairs") by the party communications director Malcolm Tucker, played to perfection by a fantastically high-powered and abusive Peter Capaldi. In comes the completely ineffectual Hugh Abbott (Chris Langham) as his replacement -- the most recent in a long line we are led to believe -- and off we go. It's a picture of near-total ineptitude. The business of government is to please the media, all the time under the baleful gaze of Tucker and his team of ferocious Rottweilers, and of course the 24 hour gaze of the media... forever on the lookout for stories. Useless empty policy statements, petty oneupmanship, and doing anything to please "Number 10", or the Chancellor at "Number 11" -- or rather not, since pleasing one side can bring down the wrath of the other as you are obviously part of a plot to undermine them. No, it's best just to churn out focus grouped policies that are bland enough not to upset anyone, all the while dreaming of advancement to departments that matter.

    It's all desperately funny and insightful. There are no bad performances. Series one and two combined add up to just six half-hour episodes in total. That may surprise Americans used to much longer runs... but when it's this funny and insightful, you are just glad it exists at all.
  • The Thick Of It is a sitcom which has been hurt by many issues, such as the loss of main character Hugh Abbot after Season 2, the splitting up of Seasons and the changes in format....

    But NONE of these issues matter because The Thick Of It is just so bloody good. It is a hilarious satire of British politicians and what goes on with them behind the scenes, and is almost completely accurate with it's similarities to, and even predictions of, real-life political scandals. It's mostly driven by dialogue, and the dialogue (most of which is profanity) is terrific, especially when coming from the hilarious, cold and fierce character of Malcolm Tucker, played to perfection by the brilliant Peter Capaldi (who you may know now from Doctor Who). The Series has been so good and popular it has even inspired a spin-off film, In The Loop, which received critical acclaim from critics.

    Overall, The Thick Of It is a classic sitcom and one of the best sitcoms to come out of the UK. Brilliant! 10/10
  • MovieBuff5725 January 2014
    10 stars out of 10 is just simply not enough! This series warrants at least 11. IMDb is largely US based (I think?) but I can't believe there's only 9 reviews for this series?

    I still mourn it's passing and with Peter Capaldi turning into Dr Who (!) any hope of another series is at least 2 or 3 years away - if at all?

    This is classic comedy which for me rises above even Fawlty Towers and sit's alongside Cheers and Frazier.

    Yes, it is meant be a fly on the wall type mockumentary and the camera work is edgy but it simply adds to the realism of it all.

    Yes - a knowledge of and interest in UK politics are probably desirable but not essential.

    Get the box-set and the movie spin off (In the Loop) and steady yourselves because you'll end up in tears. Tears of joy that is!
  • rebecca-ry29 June 2012
    'The Thick of It' is slowly becoming more and more popular especially as political scandals are becoming more frequent in headlines. The writing, acting and dialogue are all strong points in this series.

    The acting from people such as Rebecca Front, Chris Addison, Paul Higgins and of course Peter Capaldi are excellent. They don't all play particularly likable characters but that is the purpose of this show, to highlight the dark side of British politics.

    Armando Ianucci's direction and scripts are excellent, the stories are very realistic and on some occasions this show has even managed to predict an actual occurrence in Westminster before it has actually happened, that is how intelligent this show is. If you have an interest in politics you will love this show, if you dislike swearing you will loathe it; the dialogue particularly from Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker is obscene nearly all the time, he provides about 75% of the comedy in this series. The show is quite unique because of the amount of swearing included within it, especially since it is a BBC programme.

    The first and second series were good but the third series has been the best so far. The only thing missing from the third series was Paul Higgins' character Jamie MacDonald who had small parts in the first and second series and worked really well alongside Malcolm Tucker. The fourth series has now been shot and is scheduled to return later on this year (2012).

    Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this TV series. People outside the UK may struggle understanding the plots of each episode, however. Its documentary style filming method takes a while to get used to but it suits the nature of the series perfectly. If you like this programme try 'In The Loop', the film based on this series, also starring Peter Capaldi, Paul Higgins and Chris Addison.
  • I have just finished series three, and am left feeling totally in awe of everyone involved in this programme. As a huge fan of The Wire, I am glad that one does not have to judge the merit of a programme in terms of how it rates against another. Suffice it to say, The Thick Of It succeeds on every level. Not only does it work as a comedy, but it turns out to be a tremendously powerful piece of drama. Full marks to the cast, who give a powerhouse performance that is absolutely staggering. Particular praise must go to Rebecca Front, who I have always admired, but who has produced here an award-winning performance and I hope that she does receive recognition for this. I could mention every actor who has appeared in the series, they are all wonderful. If you have not seen this show, do so and follow it to its amazing climax.
  • beresfordjd29 November 2009
    I am mortified that I have only just picked up on this wonderful series in the past 6 weeks!! I had read that it was good but felt I couldn't commit to another "must watch" TV series. However against my better judgement I recorded one programme to see what all the fuss was about. I was totally blown away by the whole thing. I never really rated Peter Capaldi before this but the guy is a genius!! His intimidating, foul-mouthed character is some creation!! Whether it is him or Ianucci that is responsible, I do not know, but the end result is pure gold. Of course lots of viewers are going to find the bad language hard to get past but it really is worth it. I am rarely shocked by bad language but it shocked me - at first I found it gratuitous and almost switched off. However when you get into it the language seems (for the characters) just right and very funny. Who knows if this is the way that the people behind the scenes speak but it works. I actually know someone involved in politics on the Tory side (not my preference) and can believe in the Thick of It characters totally. I am addicted top it already and am about to get the series I have missed on DVD. Brilliant is not the word for it. People who berate the camera-work need to get a life. It is not my favourite style either but it works for this. If you have not seen it make a point of getting it immediately!!
  • It is difficult to find comedies that elicit genuine laughter these days and The Thick Of It distinguishes itself. A cold open format demands attention right away before the humor seeps in; by the time you realize what your gut is in for, the crays in Department of "Social Affairs" have crept their way into your system. Every preemptive political misstep creates so much hysteria and disaster it's impossible for bystanders not to find amusement in the absurdity and idiocy of it all.

    I am rather cautious about over hyped programs. Especially after feeling disappointed with The Office (UK), Little Britain and The Peep Show. But the lyrical filth snaps and pops too delightfully in this one to look away. Par course for the comic timing seized with perfection by Malcolm and Hugh.

    Although The Thick of It functions as satirical commentary on the British government, I find that anyone with a soft spot for political feuds and human nature will relate to it, and thus enjoy watching. Unless plot points and character device are specifically designed to allude to real life figures/events in each episode (in which case, I'm too uninformed to "catch"), you don't need sound knowledge of UK's current affairs to "get it". Much like how you don't need to be black or American to acknowledge the simple premise behind The Wire—classic institutional dysfunction and media consumption. Only difference between the two being the latter is a slow-burning novelistic tale layered with stoic horror, while the former flips like a sprightly comic book punctuated with wags and wit.

    Issues such as uninspired leadership, reluctant lackeys, chasing ranks, falsifying stats and information are things that guide and obstruct real progress within any system. In this sense, I think the appeal of The Thick Of It is universal. That the self-involved, self-defeating, borderline-sociopathic qualities harassing its spin doctors promptly blow up in their own clueless faces is just icing on the cake. Dry humor in maniacal proportions with accurate insights into the bureaucratic condition are worth the viewer ship. One season in and I think The Thick Of It is absolutely winning and hilarious.
  • In the thick of it is what you would get if you mixed the office with yes minister. shot as a documentary (like the office) it's about the office of social affairs and how they get in and out of trouble every week with hilarious results. Hugh abbot (Chris Langham) is pretty much the Dave Brent of it all while his sidekicks, Olly, Glen and Terri are pretty much there to take the blows for him. The show isn't for everyone because the humour is really dry but if you are a fan of the now modern day British sitcom then this is the most intelligent of the lot. witty dialogue, superb acting, and brilliant originality gives this underrated sitcom a 10/10.
  • dzalokar-151-9577214 November 2014
    I discovered The Thick of It after somebody suggested I watch In the Loop. This series is pure gold: Edgy, raw and totally believable. Peter Capaldi is a force of nature as Malcolm Tucker! His ability the rip a person apart and yet get them to buy-in with ideas is a work of art. The character of Malcolm Tucker ranks up there with TV characters like Archie Bunker as one of the most memorable in history. The rest of the cast (Chris Addison, Joanna Scanlan, Rebecca Front, James Smith etc…) have the daunting task of keeping up with Peter. Not only do they keep up, they make it possible to the chaos that is Malcolm Tucker possible. Brilliant from top to bottom! In a way the limited number of episodes, at first, seems like far too little. But after watching the series again (and again), offering more would be indulgent- Leave the audience satisfied!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Not only is this a hilarious TV show, it is also a strangely addictive. Armando and his team have written one of the greatest and funniest scripts of all time. Peter Capaldi is frighteningly good as Malcolm Tucker it just seems to get funnier every time you watch it. Easily the funniest TV programme I've ever seen. You need to watch each episode at least two times to get all of the jokes. It seems as though the episodes get better and better every time. Series 1 is good but series 2 is brilliant and it just progresses from then on. I wand lent the box set by a friend and after watching the first episode I became completely addicted and watched every single episode within a couple of weeks. The whole cast is fantastic and it is brilliantly rude. This is quite passable the greatest TV show ever made. Brilliant! Easily better than the Simpsons or anything else like that. It is educational, addictive and absolutely hilarious!
  • Red_Identity16 November 2014
    What a fantastic series. Having seen Veep, definitely plays in the same ballpark, but it's edgier, darker, and meaner. The whole cast is absolutely fantastic. Capaldi is unbelievable in the role, already one of my all-time favorite comedic performances ever TV. Rebecca Front enters the series halfway and almost steals the whole thing. First two seasons are really good, but it's the last two that really resonate and make the whole thing hit another level. Great stuff. In The Loop is fine, but doesn't hit these levels. I find it especially impressive when a cast in a series knows they're in a comedy but know they have to play everything absolutely straight. If you knew nothing about what this was and stumbled upon almost any scene for a minute or so, you'd swear you were watching a political drama.
  • If you are a fan of the Daily Show you should have your head checked and immediately turn onto this wonderful, intelligent satire brought to you by Armando Iannucci. The members of the Houses of Commons would probably like you to believe that their day to day lives would mirror the intellectual bravado of Yes Minster however it is more likely to mirror the bear pit spineless back stabbing depicted in The Thick of It. With Chris Langham, as the incompetent minster and Peter Capaldi, playing a wonderful if not frighteningly accurate Alastair Campbell, The Thick of It shows modern British politics as the spin filled world in which it has became. In comparison to the constant Bush baiting and idiotic cat-calling in the Daily Show along with the celebrities who come on just to plug their new show reminds us satire is always best coming from this side of the pond. This show is the best thing I've seen all year and simply unmissable.

    P.S As for the camera work that is simply a deliberate effect in order further improve the dialogue of the characters. It is a fact that most of the scenes are half scripted and half improvised. The fact that you found this funny but stop watching it due to the camera work is simply picking at imaginary faults.
  • Almost perfect series almost completely destroyed by the moronic usage of shakycam that was, for some unfathomable reason, the bees knees at the time.

    Whoever had the bright idea that shaking the camera like you've got seizures is in any way going to contribute to the "immediacy" of what is being shown? Jeez, when I take home videos with my phone it certainly doesn't look like that - this just looks like someone is deliberately flailing the camera about because it is "cool". It just distracting to the level that makes the show almost unwatchable. What a terrible terrible pity because otherwise this is a tremendous series on all levels... just made almost unwatchable because of some stupid fad.
  • Now that I've got that off my, really, I've known more than my share of real-life sadistic soul-murdering bastards along the lines of Malcolm Tucker who use their workplaces as their personal dungeons, which is why I avoided this series like the plague until a couple of months ago, when a friend convinced me it was essential viewing for Capaldi watchers. I do think it's a measure of Capaldi's talent that in a similar manner to what Anthony Hopkins did with Dr. Lecter and Hugh Laurie with Dr. House, he succeeded in making an essentially repulsive character into something relatable, even something of a folk hero. The ethics of doing so is another matter, as we live in an era where the ability to crush other humans without turning a hair is the most highly valued talent of all, which is why characters like this play so well with 21st century audiences. But Capaldi had to do something while he was waiting for his chance to play the Doctor, which one season in to Doctor Who is clearly the role he was born for, and Malcolm's not bad as roles go, sort of Capaldi's generation's equivalent of Ian Richardson's in "House of Cards," with his vulgar catchphrase "Come the f!@# in or f!@# the f!@# off" equivalent to the aristocratic Francis Urquhart's "I couldn't possibly comment."

    Which leads indirectly to the burning question, why does Malcolm eat fruit? Given his age, personality and build he seems more like the type who would chain smoke than engage in emotional eating. My theory is that he actually did smoke but was warned that if he didn't stop he would drop dead by the age of fifty, and that he ought to make an effort to take better care of himself, like eating more fresh fruit. So Malcolm has a crate of tangerines delivered every few weeks and grabs one whenever he feels like smoking. He's probably also got nicotine patches all over his arms the way Sherlock does. Which is really a shame because Malcolm is exactly the sort of person who SHOULD drop dead, the sooner the better, because he's no good to anyone including himself. Note that that his brutal style of managing his government's communications is grossly ineffective, only serving to demoralize the people he's supposed to be helping do their jobs. Also note that he screws up as often as the people he's constantly raging at for screwing up, and seems completely unaware of it. That's because he's focused on process rather than outcome: the process of controlling, immiserating and destroying the people in his charge, and of eating enough tangerines so that he can keep doing it as long as possible. The fact that he's helping to render his own government dysfunctional seems unremarked by everyone, certainly by whoever's protecting him at the top. That's the way it is with bullies, and that by the way is why we shouldn't be applauding them, but taking them down.
  • Show is brilliant. Nonstop satire will have you laughing out loud throughout the show. Unfortunately, they use a shaky camera effect for the entire show which literally made me feel car sick. They really didn't need to do that and it made the show unwatchable for me.
  • No-one, not even the most amateurish youtuber, would shake a camera around in the way this series is filmed. It totally distracts from the brilliant script and it beats me how anyone could possibly think that it's somehow an aceptable "fly on the wall" technique. Unwatchable.
  • For the lover of the British political satire, one of the most ferocious and incredibly smart and up-to-date with the political era, this is a must see. Armando Ianucci did the tour de force of making a brilliant and successful American political satire, Veep, following the success of The Thick of It. Now with Brexit, it is hard for satire to keep up with the atrocities of the real world, because, what used to be funny and satirical has now become real. The phone hacking scandal, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, etc. The BBC has moved on to a more absurdist approach, with the 2020, mocking the organisation of the Olympics game followed by an absolute delight: W1A which mocks the BBC itself and the entertainment business at the very moment the Beeb is in turmoil internally and externally. That is British humour for you: at the worst of times, what sustains British society is their utterly weird yet so delightful sense of dark self-deprecating humour. Unfortunately there is not a current political satire on air that measures up to what The Thick of It has been and stands for, as an icon at the top. It's my personal go to for a ferocious laugh when things are dire. I adore Michael Tucker's character, we all have met clones of him in the workplace, terror-infusing screaming machiavellan tyrans. #MeToo won't get rid, or even expose, all of them... Maybe Armando Iannucci should come back to it, we need an upgrade to political satire that encompasses all of the worst that has settled in nicely. If you've not seen it yet, don't miss it, it's unbelievably smart, somewhat accurate (real-life cabinet people have been cited as an inspiration for Michael Tucker such as Alastair Campbell, Blair's spin doctor) and witty.
  • Set in a UK government ministerial department, we meet the people who work there, from the minister all the way on down. The minister is a bit of a buffoon, a trait that has not escaped the Prime Minister's notice. The PM has a man who keeps underperforming / errant ministers in line, an enforcer. That man is Malcolm Tucker, truly a man to be feared.

    Brilliant. A superb satire of British politics, with no sacred subjects or limits on language usage. Pretty much Yes Minister with edgier plots and heaps of (very creative) swearing.

    The series is made by the character of Malcolm Tucker and the performance of Peter Capaldi in portraying him. Hysterically funny in his intensity and over-the-topness and use (or abuse) of the English language. The creativity displayed in the ways Tucker finds in insulting people is off-the-chart brilliant. One of the most memorable characters in TV history.

    Created by Armando Iannucci, who, once this series had run its course, turned his attention to US politics. The result was the equally-hilarious Veep.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is fabulous but definitely not that funny. We must not imagine but realize we are governed by this kind of social climbers, this kind of social egotistic selfish egocentric psychopaths who only try to capture some power, not really for the power of it, or at the most the power it provides them with over their direct employees, their direct associates, their friends who are friends as long as they are useful. These people have no vision whatsoever. They can advocate a solution today and exactly the reverse on the following day. They can be gross and pretend they are dainty, or just plain liars and let you know they are suffering so much because they told a lie because they could not avoid telling such a lie because otherwise their wives, husbands, spouses, boy or girl friends, plain friends, children pets or even gold fish, or whatever, would have suffered in a way or another if they had not changed positions and convictions during the night and over the week end. Then you end up wondering why they are in their position of power, who in hell elected them, and you suddenly realize you elected them by not voting at all or by wasting your vote on a marginal side-kick candidate. After seeing such a perilous voyage in the stormy waters of political intrigue and the schizophrenic superman complex, you can only finally decide to vote for the good side next time. But is there a good side? Can we vote for Head without seeing that Head entails Tail, or vice versa? The only thing that changes in these people are not the teeth but the dentures. They all bite abundantly with steel or gold but always with gusto since for them the public is a piece of meat and the media are the pepper and the salt of the barbecued beef.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, CEGID
  • Had no choice but to switch off - gutted. Had no choice but to switch off - gutted. Had no choice but to switch off - gutted.
  • jboothmillard25 February 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    I had heard many positive reviews about the this British series, especially about the cast and the inventive and frequent swearing, and to be honest I think that's mainly why I wanted to try it before seeing the spin-off film In the Loop, so I did, from writer Armando Iannucci (The Day Today, Alan Partridge). Basically it is a satirical look at the inner workings of modern British government, in the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, with blundering minister Hugh Abbot (BAFTA and British Comedy Award winning Chris Langham) heading the department, who tries to do the right thing in situations, under the watch of aggressive Number 10's highly aggressive and domineering enforcer Malcolm Tucker (BAFTA and twice British Comedy Award winning, and three times BAFTA nominated Peter Capaldi), other characters include junior policy adviser Ollie Reeder (British Comedy Award nominated Chris Addison), senior special adviser Glenn Cullen (James Smith) and civil service press secretary Terri Coverley (Joanna Scanlan), the third series saw Abbot replaced by new head Nicola Murray (BAFTA and British Comedy Award winning Rebecca Front). Also starring Olivia Poulet as Emma Messinger, Vincent Franklin as Stewart Pearson, Will Smith as Phil Smith and Roger Allam as Peter Mannion. I can't really write a full review on what goes on, because all the politics stuff going on is to me is a bit mumbo jumbo and I can't always make much sense, I realise obviously it is conflicts between politicians, party spin doctors, advisers, civil servants and the media, and characters are cocking things up and that, but for me the best reason to watch the series is for the characters and swearing, Capaldi is fantastic always being in a huff and swearing every few minutes if not seconds, and Addison is a good bumbler, but also it is clever because although there is a script most of the dialogue is improvised by the cast, so it is a certainly a worthwhile political comedy. It won the BAFTAs for Best Situation Comedy (twice) (also twice nominated), and it was nominated for Best Writer, Best Writer: Comedy and Best Editing: Fiction, it won the British Comedy Awards for Best New TV Comedy, and it was nominated for Best TV Comedy and Best TV Sitcom (twice). Very good!
  • My summary is a brave statement indeed, particularly in the company of both Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. However, this is a masterful insight into the inner working of British politics, and I'm sure Australians and Canadians would be able to relate, sharing the Westminster style of government.

    It is satirical comedy on a level all its own. Peter Capaldi's character, Malcolm Tucker, is truly the most aggressive and acerbic party spin doctor imaginable, and deals out some of the best put-downs ever seen on television. If you get the chance to watch the movie, In the Loop, you can also share their US experiences, although the characters do not all align, with the exception of Capaldi's.

    This is a programme I watch time and time again, especially when I need to unburden pent-up, work-related frustrations if only to be reminded that on television at least, if you have the gall and unremitting aggression, you can get away with pulverising your adversaries into utter submission. Go get it!
  • This series would have merited 10/10 - superb slick humour and a horribly plausible satire on Blair's style of government.

    But the lurching camera-work constantly wandering over the cast and zooming back and forth like the most inept inebriated amateur home-movie maker was intensely irritating. No doubt some nerd in BBC4 thought it was clever, or intended it to mimic dogme style, but it was just plain stupid. It made me feel queasy fairly rapidly and I didn't get beyond the first episode. I do not intend to stuff myself with sea-sick pills just to be able to watch a TV series, so I was forced to abandon ship...

    A pity as I would have enjoyed it otherwise.
  • rodrig5824 August 2018
    It took me a while to realize whether it's a documentary filmed with a hidden camera or not. When I saw Armando Ianucci's name, I understood what I was watching, the guy is a super director.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Thick of It (2005-2012) is honestly one of the most intriguing TV shows I've ever seen (twice now). On the one hand it's outrageously funny, witty and quotable, with many lovable and endearing characters that have the best comedic chemistry I've ever seen in a series. But on the other hand - and this is what elevates The Thick of It above being just a really good comedy - it also delivers heavy doses of cynicism, social commentary and character drama, and this becomes apparent as the show hurdles toward its dramatic conclusion.

    The first three seasons - which are made up of only fourteen episodes between them - are almost entirely comedic and light in tone, and while still immensely entertaining it doesn't prepare the audience for the almost shockingly dark and bleak undertones of the final season... but that's what makes the series' conclusion - specifically the final three episodes - so brilliant and boldly original.

    Don't get me wrong, the humour is still there, and I'd even say that the fourth season is the funniest of them all, but from the very beginning of season four there's this creeping feeling of cynicism and barely controlled anger, a feeling that gradually builds and builds until it erupts first in the climactic scenes of the penultimate episode - a uniquely formatted one-hour installment that deals with the damaging inquiry into a public servant's suicide - in the form of Malcolm - the series' most iconic and popular character - unleashing a scathing, furious outburst about the moral degradation of 21st century politics, and then in his final confrontation with Ollie when he all but emotionally breaks down and reveals how empty his life is.

    While for over a dozen episodes we've laughed at Malcolm and his brilliantly creative insults, the final two episodes reveal the deeper, sadder depths of the character's heart, and the story of his rise and fall in British politics is reminiscent of many of Shakespeare's great tragedies, Macbeth being the most recognisable and pointed comparison. I'll likely never forget just how powerful Malcolm's closing scenes are, where he begs Ollie to keep the media away from him so he can have a dignified exit from politics, but Ollie without hesitation betrays Malcolm, leading to a moment of immense shame for the once mighty figure of Malcolm Tucker, and the final image of a broken and defeated Malcolm riding away in a car as the media turn on him like a pack of hungry wolves.

    The reason that not many pieces of fiction have deserved comparisons to Shakespeare is because most of them forget one of the key things that made Shakespeare great; the wit. The Thick of It has that in spades, but rather than that lessening the dramatic impact of certain scenes, it actually aids them in being even more powerful and resonating.

    If you haven't already seen this masterful British comedy/drama, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's only 21 episodes (with two other great one-hour specials that form a connection between seasons two and three) and it's completely addictive. I'd be surprised if it took anyone more than a week to finish the entire series.

    Truly one to be remembered.