The Thick of It: Season 3, Episode 8

Episode #3.8 (12 Dec. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
7.8
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Tucker's out of government, looking for a new job. So is Nicola. But her resignation might start a coup led by Dan Miller. Can Tucker get his office back and mess things up for Steve Fleming in the process?

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Title: Episode #3.8 (12 Dec 2009)

Episode #3.8 (12 Dec 2009) on IMDb 7.8/10

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James Smith ...
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Vincent Franklin ...
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Julius Nicholson (as Alex MacQueen)
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Samantha Harrington ...
Sam
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Storyline

With the election looming Mannion's party seem likely to get in, a subdued Tucker returns to work but starts to rally in the face of Fleming's taunts that he is finished. Nonetheless the TV news is soon rife with news of his resignation - prompting some over-exuberant joy from certain colleagues - as he is head-hunted to host a TV show interviewing other political sacrificial lambs. But another previous adversary, Julius, now Lord, Nicholson comes up with an invitation back into the thick of it. As the department disbands before the election everybody wonders if any of them will be back at their desks after the votes have been counted. Written by don @ minifie-1

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12 December 2009 (UK)  »

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When the opposition are watching BBC News 24 announce the calling of the election the headline, the TV screen is showing a clip from the previous episode, which relates to Malcolm Tucker's resignation and not the election being called. See more »

Quotes

Steve Fleming: I'm gonna join Dan Miller's cabal and then we are gonna take you down, down to Funky Town! Funky Town Central, here we come! Choo-fucking-choo!
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References My Fair Lady (1964) See more »

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Season 3: A continuation of the good form set in the "season 2" specials by being cleverly written, foul-mouthed and very funny
18 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

While the two specials (and essentially a film spin off) were more than adequate to fill the gap while the fate of Langham was decided by the courts, it is good to have this show back for a full season. We join it as Nicola Murray has been installed as the new Minister at the head of the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSaC) and finds herself in Malcolm Tuckers bad books from the very start as she not only has a husband who benefited from a PFI through DoSaC (albeit before her time) but also has a daughter that she is planning to send to a private school, both of which send Malcolm's machine into operation – and not for the last time.

As they did with the specials then, season 3 sees us swiftly move past the whole Langham situation and get on with business. It is fair enough because really the subject of the show is the modern nature of politics while the stars are probably the dialogue and Malcolm Tucker (in particular the combination of both) and both of these factors are still very much in place. As with before the show continues with plots that focus on the modern spin of politics and suggests that more time is taken up with managing public image and the media that it is with the idea of leading the country or delivering on promises to improve the situations of those that voted the party into power. Yes this is all very cynical but I would suspect that, myself included, the vast majority of people would agree with this suggestion.

Each episode revolves around one or more of these situations. Normally the formula runs that something minor either occurs or is made worse by Nicola, with much shouting, swearing and spinning from Tucker to put it right or minimise political damage. Although one or maybe two of the episodes are only "ok", the majority do work very well and do deliver and clever plots which do play out well with a certain "car crash" enjoyment in seeing poor judgement or incompetence making things worse (Nicola accidentally launching a leadership bid on the PM is a particularly good one). In itself this is amusing but it is the dialogue and sharp delivery that makes the show as funny as it is. The lines are as sharp as a knife and delivered in the same fashion – Tucker in particular speaks as all of us would like to at work (but don't because we would be sacked instantly). It is rather shocking at first because of the very strong language involved but after a minute the poetry of the insults comes through and is often as funny as it is clever.

The cast deliver really well and are more than just characters to deliver sharp dialogue. Capaldi shows a human heart here and there in some of the episodes but mostly his best acting is the way he shows the pressure and the way he manages to effectively darken his face ahead of unleashing a torrent of abuse. Front will be known to all those that have watched British comedy down the years and she does a very good job as the new Minister. She gets some good laughs but she is not a figure of fun and she does manage to bring through a person with good intentions who gets lost within the day-to-day political machine (very much Jim Hacker in Yes Minister). Addison, Scanlan and Smith continue their good work in roles that are far from the supporting roles they appear to be.

The Thick of It season 3 is a continuation of the good form set in the "season 2" specials by being cleverly written, foul-mouthed and very funny. It will not be to all tastes but, while the language may suggest that it is of a lesser pedigree, it is very much the Yes Minister of this generation as it entertains as perfectly as it captures a political culture.


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