Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Thick Of It Series 4 - Favourite Quips and Quotables

Last night marked the end of what many (including the creators) reckon to be the last ever series of The Thick Of It, one of the most sweary, satirical, sharp and hilarious comedies of the past decade: a brilliant send-up of spin and the SPAD (special adviser) culture of modern day British politics.

The show has made Peter Capaldi a household name for his tour-de-force performance as media strategist/spin doctor Malcolm Tucker and has seen writer/creator Armando Ianucci earn levels of critical acclaim than quite possibly even supersedes that which he received for Alan Partridge.

As mentioned, the show is famous for it's swearing and scything put downs and even has it's own "swearing consultant" in the shape of Ian Martin. Over the years there have been some corkers - some, such as Malcolm's description of then DoSAC minister Nicola Murray as an "omnishambles" have percolated into our popular culture so deep to the extent that Ed Milliband has even used the phrase in Prime Minister's Questions.

This series has seen its fair share of "zingers" too. The entire series is available to watch on iPlayer until next Saturday, and I'd advise you to check it out (links are in the headers below), but for now I thought I'd share some of my favourite lines.

Episode 1

Synopsis: Peter Mannion, the Secretary of State for Social Affairs, is told to launch his coalition partner Fergus's new 'Networked Nation' policy at a school. Peter doesn't even know how to right-click a mouse and would rather be celebrating his wedding anniversary.

Favourite lines: 

"There's no happiness without order. A Nazi quote, but nevertheless stands the test of time." Phil Smith, SPAD to Peter Mannion MP.

"What do you ask for, the Disney Prince?" Adam Kenyon, SPAD to Fergus Williams MP, on Phil's haircut.

"I hate schoolchildren, they're volatile and stupid and they haven't got the vote, I might as well be talking to fucking geese!" Peter

"Did you see me being deliberately less professional than usual?" Terri Coverly, Director of Communications, DoSAC

"It's like asking a dog if it understands the concept of Norway." Fergus

"I reserve this level of anger for when I'm flying RyanAir" Stewart Pearson, Director of Communications,Cabinet Office

"You used a load of words this morning, it was like a fucking Will Self lecture." Peter

"I'm bored of this, I'm going for a Twix." Peter

Episode 2

Synopsis: Nicola Murray is breaking in her new policy advisor, Helen Hatley. When Helen is accidentally photographed holding notes from an ideas meeting, Nicola is understandably angry.

Favourite lines:

"Big shit, granola, check the email, shower and shave, espresso, sometimes a second shit." Ben Swain MP describing his morning routine.

"A pony isn't a baby horse, it's a foal, a fucking foal." Malcolm

"I don't think you got enough hugs as a child." Helen Hatley, SPAD to Nicola Murray, on Malcolm.

"Don't send Ben to the backbenches 'cause he'll just wank and eat Pringles - leather seats are an invitation to men like him." Malcolm

"Whisper-boarding, he calls it." Ollie Reader, SPAD to Nicola Murray, on Malcolm's super-quiet bollocking technique.

"What is this, Tinker Tailor Soldier Cunt?" Malcolm, whilst conspiring with deputy leader of the opposition Dan Miller MP in a cupboard.

"That WAS a U-turn, if I do another U-turn then I'll have done an O-turn!" Nicola

"The first rule of breakfast club is we don't talk about breakfast club." Ollie

Episode 3

Synopsis: Stewart Pearson is running 'Thought Camp' at a remote country house hotel. Meanwhile, Phil is surprised to find the ministerial offices less than deserted. Then all political hell is let loose when an unexpected and tragic news story breaks.

Favourite lines:

"This Mind Kampf is in the middle of nowhere" Peter

"Let's McIntyre this: stand up." Stewart

"Tickel wasn't the Queens of people's hearts, he was a twat in a tent." Phil

"I mean we all have children, yeah? Well, I don't literally but..." Stewart

"Now we're in Government and it's all gone a bit J G Ballard..." Peter

"I'm fucking in charge, and I'm going Nordic drama!" Fergus

"If it's Ben Swain we all shout Sweaty Swain as he dehydrates himself through PMQs, Holhurst looks like a Shepperd dressed up to meet the Queen and if it's Dan Miller we're fucked" Peter summarises potential new Leaders of the Opposition.

"Any second now he's going to do the imaginary tits" Stewart on Fergus' gesticulation.

Episode 4

Synopsis: With opposition leader Nicola on a long train journey to attend the party's Here 2 Hear event in Bradford, Malcolm Tucker is free to launch his latest plot.

Side-note: This for me is the episode where they really started to turn on the style again. As brilliant as episode 6 (with it's drastic change of format) and 7 were, this was my favourite episode this series and up there with the "Rise of the Nutters"/"Spinners and Losers" specials and series 3 as the peak of the series.
Favourite lines:

"Sam, hi, listen can you do me a favour? Buy some flowers for Nicola fucking Murray. Yeah, have them delivered to her home this evening with a card that says 'Sorry you had to go, but let's face it, you are a fucking waste of skin'. Waste of skin, yeah" Malcolm, preparing for the end of the Murray era.

"I'm looking for Mr Oliver Reader, he looks a bit like a Quintin Blake illustration." Malcolm

Ollie[on Nicola]: Is she fucked?
Malcolm: Like Caligula's favourite melon.

Nicola: Still not knocking I see Malcolm?
Malcolm: Ah sorry, it's an old habit from my time with the Haitian death squad.

"C'mon, you cannot look a gift-corpse in the mouth" Malcolm

"I need you lot to make like a tree and fuck off." Malcolm

"...and you mean Foreign Secretary - that's not code for Northern Ireland is it? I'm not fucking going there." Ben negotiating his position.

"You can't go first class, it's career suicide, might as well just do a shit in the aisle" Helen [a very prophetic quote given what happened recently to our Chancellor.]

"He goes into debt every time he passes a sweet shop" Glenn Cullen on Ben's chances as Chancellor.

"You are a diamond, Glenn, not just any form of ageing carbon, the best kind." Ollie

"Nicola, I can't find Benjamin Glutton anywhere." Malcolm on Ben

"These phones are amazing, aren't they? I've got an application here that can throw grenades into people's dreams." Malcolm

The following quotes were all made by John Duggan, press officer for the Opposition, which sees Miles Jupp reprise his excellent guest turn from series three as a man whose job seems to be "depriving a village somewhere of a twat" to quote Nicola. Definitely up there with Julius Nicholson as far as cameos go:

"All aboard the Hogwarts Express for Nicola Potter and the Prisoner of Azka-Bradford"

"It's alright drinking on a train, isn't it? It's one of those places where alcohol is acceptable any time of the day. Like a casino, or Cardiff."

[On Ben Swain's resignation] "What is it, a sex scandal? I bet he pays for it, is he a gaylord or something?"

"Having an accurate wee into a train cubicle toilet would make a great round on The Cube."

 Episode 5

Synopsis: Both government and opposition try to spin their way to the moral high ground following the key worker housing scandal. Some are even calling for an inquiry.

Favourite lines: 

"The man made of space hopper" Peter describing Stewart.

"He's as dodgy as a Russian... well as a Russian!" Phil

"The blind man's crumpet's on the way up... no smiling, not even a wee Anne Robinson. The look we're going for is solemn respect, like blokes modelling underpants." Malcolm prepares for the arrival of a newly-resigned Nicola.

"You are not a grandee, you're a fucking blandee. No one knew what the fuck you stood for. Political fucking mist. No substance, no weight. You've got all the charm of a rotting teddy bear by a graveside." Malcolm to Nicola.

 "I go from being a turnip to a leak, but still a fucking vegetable to you, is that it?" Glenn upon Fergus and Adam requesting he leak an email.

"Mr Tickel sounds like a gropey clown at a children's party." from the chain of emails on the recently deceased and homeless NHS key worker Mr Tickel.

Malcolm: It's the end of the world as we know it... to paraphrase a popular fucking Bangles song.
Ollie: ...It was R.E.M.
Malcolm: DON'T start contradicting me on that kind of shit.

Episode 6

Synopsis: Lord Goolding's inquiry into the key worker housing scandal begins. The truth will finally come out. Unless, of course, anyone has any sudden lapses of memory.

Favourite lines:
"I was over that pre-Brit pop." Stewart on leaking.

"Well, despite your shirt, this isn't CSI:Miami" Baroness Sureka to Stewart.

"The Guardian: The newspaper that hates newspaper" Malcolm

"If you didn't have leaking, newspapers would just be full of long-lense bikini shots and adverts for sheds and offers to buy three pairs of trousers for a tenner etc" Malcolm

"You cannot not know what you now know." Malcolm

"I really don't want the last thing I said to be skin flakes." Fergus

"Fucking Florence Shitingale"; "How many Mr Tickel's does it take to change a light bulb? He doesn't have a lightbulb, he's in a tent."; "The fucker's a nutbag." sample quotes from the leaked DoSAC emails on Mr Tickel.

"Dealing with the press is not so much herding cats as it is herding sheep" Terri

"I found her quite funny without resorting to vulgarity." Malcolm on Terri's testimony [no doubt an in-joke by the writers on this episode's change in tone].

"I think that it's a good idea to have an inquiry ever now and then." Nicola

"Mr Tucker threatened to remove Mr Reader's appendix, throw away Mr Reader and appoint the useless flap of colon as special adviser." eyewitness account of Malcolm in action.

"Does a cow drink milk?" Glenn

"He's a man without a spine." Glenn on Ollie.

"How dare you blame me for this, which is the result of a political class which has given up on morality and simply pursues popularity at all costs." Malcolm

"I'm finished anyway, you didn't finish me." Malcolm

Episode 7 

Synopsis: The Home Office have cut police numbers. At Malcolm's suggestion, Dan Miller gets sent on a fact-finding mission to the local cop-shop.

Favourite lines:
"I started writing you a letter but it just seemed pretentious." Phil attempting to apologise to Peter.

"I am an f-wording professional!" Terri

"I thought we weren't talking to the Proclaimers?" Phil on Fergus and Adam.

"I'm bitchin' yes, I'm as busy as a two-twatted hooker." Malcolm

"I don't take advice from someone who looks like he waxes his hair by sticking his head up a cow's vagina." Malcolm to Ollie.

"One of the many things that baffles me about you is that you remain unmurdered." Adam to Terri.

"Police stations are heaving like the hedgehog carvery at a gypsy wedding." Malcolm

"What about your sister Glenn? You've got to whitewash her walls!" Terri, after Glenn reveals he's handing himself into the police.

"This is lower than my mother's pelvic floor." Nicola on being interviewed by the man in the chop suit that's stalked her all series.

"Just doing one thing at a time are you, because you're a uni-tasker?" Peter to Terri.

"That was better than IMAX Inception!" Phil after Glenn's rant dressing down the entire department.

"With [Malcolm] gone, I feel fresh hope we can mend and rebuild a credible politics of integrity and honour." Nicola [all said with the pork chop suit in the background.]

"...It doesn't matter." Malcolm, after his arrest.