The Thick of It: New viewers start here
The Thick of It is back - for a glorious eight episodes starting this Saturday at 10.10pm on BBC Two - with extra fun on the Red Button straight after.
The show began life on BBC Four, so it might be new to some viewers on BBC Two. In that spirit, here's an overview for anyone who might be feeling a bit left out:
Thick of It Producer Adam Tandy writes...
Don't be confused by all the panicking politicians in The Thick Of It on BBC Two this weekend. If you're wondering how they all got in that state, it's all very simple.
The old Department of Social Affairs was set up by the old PM and was used as a dumping ground for all the bits of government that everyone else didn't want to touch, let alone deal with. Then they put Cliff Lawton MP in charge, and made it a Cabinet job as a kind of poisoned carrot.
Even the Civil Servants there are not that hot - look at Communications Director Terri Coverley, head-hunted from the retail sector at great expense but probably to the great relief of her former colleagues at Waitrose. Her press officers are just as rubbish - Robyn Murdoch particularly. Robyn's let more cats out of hats than Dr Suess, according to Terri.
Cliff lasted 18 months before the PM sacked him for attracting too much press attention, by sending his own spin-doctor (Director of Communications) Malcolm Tucker round to extract a resignation.
Cliff's replacement as Secretary of State, Hugh Abbot MP, has lasted a bit longer.
He's even managed to pick up another sizeable disaster area to add to his portfolio, the Department of Citizenship run by the gaffe-prone Ben Swain MP. And thus DoSAC was born.
Hugh's had a couple of right-hand men to keep him out of trouble: Glenn Cullen, an old pal going back years, and bright young thing Oliver Reeder, as wonk-y as they come but good at coming up with policy on the hoof. Olly and Glenn aren't civil servants, but political appointees called Special Advisors (SpAds). If the Secretary of State goes, they go with him.
Hugh Abbot has even managed to survive a change of Prime Minister by carefully staying on holiday while the old PM was forced out by leader of the Nutter tendency, Tom Davies MP, despite the rumours about Tom's debilitating bouts of depression. Ben Swain gained politically, and Malcolm Tucker only managed to hang on to his job with a bit of nifty footwork and stabbing some ex-colleagues in the back.
Olly Reeder, encouraged by Malcolm, has started an up-and-down relationship with Emma Messinger, posh totty working for the Opposition. Emma has prior experience of Social Affairs policy so she was the obvious choice when the Opposition's PR guru Stewart Pearson assigned her to Peter Mannion MP, the shadow minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship. Peter's an old war-horse of a politician: he's even been a junior minister at DEFRA in the dim and distant past.
PM Tom Davies has finally got round to his first major reshuffle, and so probably the last before the election. Frankly, anything could happen.
Look out for more from a member of the Thick of It team each week here on the Comedy Blog.
Further into The Thick of It
Get even better prepared for Saturday...
- Read our interview with Rebecca Front (Nicola Murry MP)
- Watch the Thick of It special, The Rise of The Nutters, on iPlayer
- Enjoy our web exclusive video for Peter Capaldi and Jo Scanlan's show Getting On