The Thick of It

Spinners and Losers (3 Jul. 2007)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
8.6
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Peter Mannion's speech on immigration, leaking the PM's policy, did not have the effect Tucker desired and now the PM is resigning, leaving the way clear for the Nutters and their leader ... See full summary »

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Title: Spinners and Losers (03 Jul 2007)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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James Smith ...
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Polly Kemp ...
Lucinda Raikes ...
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Cliff Lawton (as Timothy Bentinck)
Rob Edwards ...
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Justin Edwards ...
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Julius Nicholson (as Alex MacQueen)
Eve Matheson ...
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Peter Mannion's speech on immigration, leaking the PM's policy, did not have the effect Tucker desired and now the PM is resigning, leaving the way clear for the Nutters and their leader Tom. Ollie has been promised a job by young Nutter Ben Swain, Tucker's assistant has encouraged Hugh's predecessor Cliff to stand as a stalking horse and Glenn is keen to keep Hugh in the frame whilst his boss is in Australia. Fortunately Tom has a dark secret which is just what Tucker is looking for but will it be enough? Written by don @ minifie-1

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3 July 2007 (UK)  »

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Adam Kenyon: Right, Geoff Holhurst?
Angela Heaney: Yeah.
Adam Kenyon: What, Ollie's our source on this? Ollie Reeder? Shallow Throat? Brilliant.
Angela Heaney: I know you don't rate him...
Adam Kenyon: You can say that again. Ollie Reeder is, to quote Bobby Kennedy, a complete fucking spasmanoid. Plus, you know how Geoff Holhurst photographs - it's like his body's in the foreground and his head is really really far away, looks fucking weird. Just something solid, allright? Otherwise our front page is going to be an interview with Janet Street Porter on why she ...
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Spinners and Losers: Another strong special to fill the massive gap till season two even starts filming
12 July 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Prime Minister has announced he is stepping down and it is mere minutes before the jockeying for position begins. Reliable Tom is the favourite but when Malcolm gets wind of a story over drug addiction doing the rounds he finds he has to kill that while preventing anyone strong stepping into the ring. Hugh is out of the equation and the rumour is that someone has already booked onto the Today programme for the next morning to announce they are running. With night rapidly turning into morning, the political machine goes into overdrive with spin doctors, advisors and journalists all chasing who is and isn't standing.

With Langham still awaiting trial on criminal allegations, The Thick of It continues to keep us waiting for the second season but does produce another special and a very timely one it is too as political spinning goes nuts as the PM steps down. To be fair, the actual handover to Blair was done without a lot of public spinning and manoeuvring however such is the general cynicism about politics that it is easy to buy into version set behind the scenes in our parallel government. That said, although the race to be the new PM was never going to be a race so much as a handover, there must have been a lot of stuff going on around was anyone going to challenge and also who was going to be the deputy.

Anyway, this special screened the week after Blair stepped down and picked up where the Christmas special left us – with the PM quitting. The plot is very clever here although it can be quite hard to follow as we see everyone in full on survival mode with even Malcolm himself not completely in the loop. Throughout the episode we see candidates moved into position and then dismissed with each revelation or change of allegiance – it is not 100% convincing in how fast it all happens but when you are caught up in the pace then it is easy to go with. Again, I know people don't necessarily like it, but I do find the hand-held cameras to be of benefit in creating the energy and pace around the narrative.

It goes without saying that the dialogue continues to be this wonderfully foul version of the West Wing that is hilarious. At times the sheer volume of language does overwhelm the dialogue and it becomes all about the swearing rather than the swearing being used, but generally when this happened I was too busy laughing to really care all that much. Capaldi is given a good dimension to work with as he is in a fight rather than in full control (or at least clearly the one in charge when things are not in control). He wears this well and brings the spin out convincingly. Higgins does well to accept second place character wise as he tries and fails to move himself up on a new horse (a man so dull that, when Higgins is told that "there are shades of grey" and not just black/white issues, he responds "aye and I'm looking at about 15 of them right now"). Addison plays a similar role but with less spine and he is convincing as the script sees his arrogance collapse as he plays a mans game without a clue what he is doing beyond the next two minutes. Smith is given some strong material to work with and has some good moments in he latter half of the film while support from Edwards, Scanlan and others is roundly good.

Overall then another very strong special. Not as out and out funny as "Rise of the Nutters" but it has a stronger narrative and is a very tight and funny comment on the spinning and manoeuvring inside the mock UK government – of course, it'll be nothing like this in reality(!).


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