The Thick of It s03e05 Episode Script

Series 3, Episode 5

So Armando came on my radio show, and my radio show's on at night, 10:00 till 1:00 a.
, and because we're on at night, the first part of the show we'll do proper interviews with people, but after midnight, we always do sort of more nonsensical stuff.
And Armando came on the show and the debate after him was, "Are clowns funny? Are they terrifying or funny?" And I think he found it quite funny that as I'm interviewing him, I kept saying, "Armando's here now.
"Don't forget, after midnight, 'Are clowns funny?"' And then towards the end of his interview, a clown turned up in full make-up, actually terrifying make-up, and sat next to him.
And he basically took that experience away and turned it into this episode of The Thick of It.
And suddenly there it was and this episode appeared.
And everybody's in it.
So we're gonna have A, Richard Bacon Well, we had "the" Richard Bacon in the end.
- Not "a" Richard Bacon? - No, no.
- I thought it was "a" Richard Bacon.
- No, no, no.
- It was "the" one.
- Well, there you are, you see.
Like what, opposed to He's better than bloody Ustinov, isn't he? That's such an old joke.
Can you just please get out? Yeah, okay, right, can you just both fucking get out of the studio now? You, and fucking Rupert Brooke, just out! It added to it.
It gave us new toys to play with, like the watching booth.
- Um - Is that what they call it? - "The watching booth.
" - Well, whatever you call it.
There's this You know, where all the guys sit at those giant keyboards, you know.
"Watching booth" sounds like some kind of 18th century attraction - at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
- Well, I remember - the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens - "Ah, the watching booth.
" - There aren't many of us left now.
- "Once Fanny is out, we shall go in.
"Tis only a half-penny.
" And I got sent a script and we went to a script read-through here at BBC TV Centre, ran into Jo, who plays Terri, and Peter Capaldi, who plays Malcolm Tucker, in the corridor.
This man was walking alongside us and said, "Oh, I'm coming to that, too.
" And I said, "Oh.
Oh, good, yes.
" He said, "I'm playing a radio presenter.
" I said, "Oh, are you an actor?" And he said, "Yes, no, I'm a radio presenter.
" I said, "Oh, good.
So you're a radio presenter playing a radio presenter.
" And Peter Capaldi looked at me, he was kind of like (MOCK EXCLAIMS) And he actually had to say to me, "He's famous.
" It was very embarrassing.
And we did this read-through and everyone's in character and they're playing these characters that I know so well.
And I said to somebody afterwards, "It was like "the toys in the toy cupboard had come to life.
" And what was really surreal is that these characters that I know and love are talking about me using my real name.
You know, it was like stepping inside the television.
I listen to Radio 5, and, um, it's sort of grown on me, actually, and I do listen to it.
So I thought that was quite exciting, getting a chance to do that.
I think the main After a few days in 5 Live it all becomes normalised, and I found that in real life, I was Every 15 minutes I'd just throw to the travel.
Uh, that was the strangest part of it for me.
Just walking down the street and then expecting whoever it was next to me to tell me about a pile-up on the M62.
That was an odd one, because people were properly working around us.
You had all these people walking around in character in our office.
Everybody has to be on radio mikes.
And we're right next door to BBC News Channel, where we were filming.
And the news people were, rightly, quite concerned that Malcolm shouldn't burst through their frequencies and onto the airwaves of the news channel.
Janice, I'm sure in the interest of balance - you'll want to make sure that gets out.
- Right.
Can you shut up, right? Malcolm's right.
I decide what is news.
- Absolutely.
- And this is fucking news.
Right, right, now, see this here? You do it, and I will press - this fucking button - Don't fucking threaten me.
It feels real.
It feels very real.
Um, and terrifying, and there was one point when they were only doing the read-through, Sara, who plays Janice, and Peter, and they were just looking at their scripts, so it couldn't have been less real, if you like.
And he was having a go at her and threatening to kill her, and I found that I wanted to step in and stop it, like, you know, two people fighting in a nightclub or something.
Because I felt as though, "God, he's abusing her.
" And then you remind yourself, "No, it's just a performance.
" I've got a fucking photograph that I've been waiting for a fucking rainy day to show everyone, which is a photograph of your fucking Shadow Chancellor at one of his fucking parties dressed up in a fucking bra, suspenders, and fucking blackface! Yes, I've been shouted at by one Shadow Minister's advisor, which was a great moment.
I thought, "Here we go.
It's Alastair Campbell, the sequel.
" Sometimes politics is very frenetic.
Most of the time, it's not.
It's calm and organised.
But sometimes it isn't, and that strikes a chord with me, yes.
What I think's nice about the Richard Bacon show for The Thick of It is that it's that weird bit of culture where where popular culture, non-political culture, meets the political culture.
And so often they're completely separate worlds.
- Any piercings? - Um - Er, no.
- Yes, you do.
- No piercings at all, no.
- You have got some piercings.
- Okay, all right.
- Ah, sorry, no, no piercings at all, no.
It can be really hard for politicians to seem as if they're really in touch with Joe and Jane Public, because they spend so much time in this weird bubble that is Westminster.
And the kinds of questions that sometimes end up with a sharp intake of breath can be the ones like, "How much is a pint of milk?" Or, "How much is the minimum wage?" And recently the Prime Minister got into a bit of a tangle when he was allegedly asked what his favourite biscuit was.
And so keen was he not to offend HobNob lovers or Kit Kat devotees that he apparently refused to give an answer.
Now, in actual fact, he was never asked that question, but that didn't stop dozens and dozens of column inches being written about the fact that Gordon Brown couldn't even tell the public which particular biscuit he liked with a cup of tea.
It's difficult for them to seem in touch when they're spending so many hours here in this high-pressure world.
Can I just pause there to read out some text on piercings? "Dear, Richard, my friend's daughter got piercings "all round her mouth.
She looks like she worked in a ball bearings factory "and there was an explosion, and all the shrapnel "got embedded in her face.
I don't like it.
" You're trying to get your message across all the time.
One, it's very frustrating, 'cause I never feel as a minister, that what I'm doing and what my policies are are actually known, because there's such a huge amount of information now.
So we have to fight for coverage, just as pressure groups do and organisations do.
So it does create this melee of, some would say, the Bonfire of the Vanities, wouldn't they? What we would be looking for is getting people to inspire each other out of poverty, out of disadvantage.
How can you be inspired out of poverty? I think they hit the nail on the head really well in the programme.
The show that I do is on late at night, and 5 Live is a breaking news station.
And when you're on at night, there aren't many breaking stories, so you cling to anything.
So we would announce that the Ipswich manager had been sacked.
The other week, we were having a debate about the Lisbon Treaty, and I interrupted that to announce that Pamela Anderson is going to be in panto in Wimbledon.
(CHUCKLING) So, um, yeah, you know, they've captured the essence of the programme.

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