The Thick of It (4 stars)

The Thick of It

The ConDem coalition has been both a godsend and an almighty cul de sac for political satirists. Having two sets of people needing to work together for the greater good while not hating each other’s guts in public is almost what The Thick of It has been about from the start. There’s Malcolm Tucker and there’s everyone else trying not to be caught in his profanity-strewn crosshairs. The tension and paranoia that inevitably arise within a political party as it attempts to hold onto fading power were beautifully realised through the blazing-eyed fury of Tucker and the abject humiliation of constant backtracking that he forced all and sundry into.

Now though, where do you go with a real-life government that does likewise in full glare of the media? For Armando Iannucci, this means taking the Tories into the wilderness to go ‘policyjamming’ at a remote Thought Camp. You already know how Peter Mannion will react to sitting cross-legged in a circle for an Easter weekend of ‘imagineering’. Back at a very sparse DoSAC base, the LibDems’ Fergus and Adam are experiencing an ‘ideagasm’ with an attractive young economist for whom they might shell out £2bn to start a new bank. A death in the political family halts everyone’s plans in their tracks.

With this final series focusing on a toothless opposition led by an increasingly desperate Nicola Murray in one episode and the accident-prone administration the next (though presumably number seven will have the whole house of cards collapsing in a curse-laden heap), it merely seals the feeling that Iannucci reckons both sides are as feckless as each other. The only real difference is that one half has Malcolm Tucker (‘what is this: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Cunt?’) and the other just doesn’t.

BBC Two, Sat, 9.45pm.

Time For School - The Thick of It - Series 4 Episode 1 - BBC Two

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