Just another day at the fuckoffice’ was one description of the events in the seventh episode of this series of The Thick of It. But this wasn’t just another day; this was the last day. After four series of sweary, satirical brilliance, Iannucci’s show is leaving the building with its head held high and its audience wanting more. Something its legendary anti-hero didn’t manage to emulate.
Things started to unwind for Tucker in the penultimate inquiry special, in which he was ultimately reduced to that most dire and desperate of inquiry responses: ‘I don’t recall.’ In the finale, the Malc-iovellian genius rapidly ran out of options. Capaldi has been enthralling since day one, but his acting in the second half of this series has been remarkable, especially his blistering rant to Ollie about the deadening effect of his job, and his final moments when, after an undignified arrest, he prepared to make a last statement to the baying press-pack. Staring at them through hollow eyes, he finally muttered ‘It doesn’t matter’, and swept off screen.
Stuart and Glen were the other casualties of Tickellgate but neither was going to go quietly. Stuart’s rant struck a chord with many as he described his doomed attempts to rebrand the nasty party: ‘You can take out a sexist beam here…replace the odd homophobic roof tile, but in the end the foundations are built on what I can only describe as a solid bed of cunts.’ And Glen – who’s always come closest to having what could vaguely resemble some morals – finally went Glental, in a deranged and hilarious rant at his colleagues. The whole speech was fantastic, though the gem saved for Peter might just be the highlight: ‘Peter, it’s been dreadful. I hope your cock falls off.’
The series showed that no one – no matter how conniving and ruthless – wins at politics for long. Even the briefly exultant gang at DoSAC managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again, as their fleetingly successful policy backfired. ‘What a shit day’ were the show’s appropriate closing words. It was bleak but it was brilliant.
If you haven’t seen this show, buy the box set and watch the lot. If you have, buy the box set and watch the lot again. TV of this quality doesn’t come around every day. And so farewell then, The Thick of It. Or, as Malcolm would have it, fuckety bye.