The Thick of It: Season 2, Episode 3

Episode #2.3 (3 Nov. 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
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Terri has returned from compassionate leave after her father's death and Hugh is back from holiday. The department has a new name, the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, though ... See full summary »


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Title: Episode #2.3 (03 Nov 2005)

Episode #2.3 (03 Nov 2005) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
James Smith ...
Polly Kemp ...
Eve Matheson ...
Martin Ball ...


Terri has returned from compassionate leave after her father's death and Hugh is back from holiday. The department has a new name, the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, though they seem to be dealing with issues no other departments want. They also have a new building but it is a disappointment - with no ventilation and the email system is down so the staff must temporarily use their own email addresses. Hugh takes a dislike to educational advisor Roy Smedley over special schools and uses Terri's computer to send Glenn an email calling him a four letter word. Unfortunately it gets erroneously sent to a little girl also called Glenn Cullen and Tucker has to clear up the fall-out when the press get wind of the story. Written by don @ minifie-1

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3 November 2005 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Malcolm Tucker: I like your tan, by the way. Have you declared it? Staying at the villa of an influential friend?
Hugh Abbott: I haven't got any influential friends, Malcolm. You are my only influential friend.
Malcolm Tucker: Oh, yeah, and I'm not really your friend anyway.
Hugh Abbott: You're not really my friend.
Malcolm Tucker: So, this super-schools bill. You don't think it's so super, do you?
Hugh Abbott: You're doing it now.
Malcolm Tucker: What?
Hugh Abbott: That's your bollocking face.
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References My Bloody Valentine (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Season 1: Not as consistently hilarious as you think but wonderfully sharp and twisty satire on modern politics
19 October 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I missed this when it first came out on BBC4 and I really only got into it when the two specials came out during Langham's trial. Having recently enjoyed In The Loop I decided it was well worth me remedying my mistake and going back to the start. With the hilarious insults and fast pace of the specials and the film still in my head, my first impression of the first season was that it was not quite as funny as I hoped it would be. This became less of an issue as the season moved into the second or third episode because it seemed to be giving me much more laugh out loud moments – but this was still not what the show is about.

Instead of belly laughs the show is a satire that is as sharp as a knife and, regardless of what Alistair Campbell may say, one that appears to be right on the money. As another reviewer here has said, I'm sure that many working in Government would like to have the Yes, Minister view of their world but The Tick of it seems much more likely. Each episode involves a situation or series of situations that must be "managed" and we see the vast majority of the managing being done by head spin doctor Malcolm Tucker – a wonderfully foul mouthed Scot with a blood pressure that could crush a submarine. We stay mostly with the new minister for Social Affairs Hugh Abbott and his team as they get tied up in tiny non-issues and try to play/survive the news cycles with typically poor results. I'm not sure if it is partly improvised but the dialogue has a wonderfully free-flowing and rapid nature, similar to the West Wing at some points but with more frequent use of the words f**k and c**t.

The star of the show is Capaldi. His character has all the best lines and he delivers them really well, spitting the words with bile and commanding the screen in the same way as his character runs the office. Langham's sexual crimes aside, he does good here, looking pressured and terrified most of the time. Addison, Smith and Scanlan all provide strong support with their own fair share of great lines and characters. Many have complimented Iannucci's writing while also complaining about the camera work. To me the movement of the camera is a good decision because it matches the uneasy and constantly moving feel to each episode. It also has a slight documentarian feel to it that works as well. I can understand why it takes a minute to get used to but it fits the material much better than big sets, clean frames and static shots edited together.

The first season of The Thick of It is not quite as brilliant as the specials that followed it in lieu of a second season but it is still a wonderfully sharp satire. It has plenty of great laughs but what is more impressive is just how consistent and convincing it is. Those joining late like I did will find that it is well worth stepping back to the first season though.

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