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The Thick of It's Joanna Scanlan on playing Terri

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David Thair | 10:00 UK time, Friday, 13 November 2009

Joanna Scanlan as TerriJoanna Scanlan writes...

Terri Coverley's natural habitat is the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. She's already been invited on six occasions. If Terri is not actually in attendance at The Palace, then she likes to dress as though she is, and luckily she can afford all those super jackets, because as a Senior Civil Servant she earns a good deal more than the Minister, even if she did take a pay cut when she was head hunted from Waitrose.

Ms Terri Coverley was born out of my own experience working for three years as the Combined Arts Officer at The Arts Council of Great Britain, as was, just round the corner from Millbank. I observed political chicanery amongst the sets of pearls and cut glass accents, even partaking in some myself. And most importantly for my understanding of the world of The Thick of It, I smelled the heady, seductive common-sense slaying wiff of POWER. Like diamorphine, it can take you on a dance through sedation, euphoria, tolerance and dependency, but like any opiate, you can OD all too easily - as all Terri's five previous Ministers have proved.

Terri herself, of course, has immunity to the dark arts, vaccinated by the fact she's not remotely interested in Politics. She'd rather take a wine tour round Bordeaux. Or discuss the latest Booker Prize nominees at her Tuesday night Book Group. All those personal insults that cascade through DoSAC are like water off a duck's back to her, and she simply doesn't hear the bad language, choosing to ignore the behaviour as you might an infant's tantrums.
Never a true target of Malcolm's venomous spleen, Terri has enjoyed a 'Special Relationship'  with him, mirrored in my own relationship with Peter Capaldi. So, when Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine and I were developing Getting On, I knew that I wanted to work with Peter. He's a true renaissance man. His fine eye for absurdity within the everyday, his compassion and his Scottish roots (I am from Wales) gave us an artistic meeting place.

Armando Iannucci has put together a team on The Thick of It that is maxxed out on talent behind, in front and sideways of the camera and what an inspiration it is to be a part of. Even if I do have to wear the colour-me-beautiful suits that match June's herbaceous borders at Buck House.

Out of The Thick of It

In case you missed it, here's the latest Thick of It bonus material from the Red Button:

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The Thick of It continues on Saturday night at 10.10pm on BBC Two.


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