The Thick of It s03e08 Episode Script

Series 3, Episode 8

Something fundamental was going to happen to one of the characters towards the end.
And it seemed like Malcolm, who always thinks of himself at the centre of events, seemed the likely candidate to find himself cast out into the wilderness.
- You're back.
Are you back? - I'm back.
Like ballroom dancing.
And I need your help, my little Fuckbob Shitpants.
Peter played it like someone who had been crying for two weeks and has now just come back into work.
But you just see that kind of slight exhaustion that's drained him of something.
There's a very nice moment where Malcolm Tucker is sitting, rather bereft, on a sofa.
And you think, "Ah, at last, we've got a picture of this man "destroyed, however briefly," you know.
We're really very excited.
Yeah.
This could be the highlight of my career.
And I've taken a dump in the White House.
See, that's great banter.
That's exactly what we're looking for.
Is it? Steven Fleming believes that ultimately, he will be the final murderer.
He will have the knife in his hand.
I thought it would be nice if Malcolm did have a nemesis but it wasn't a kind of It wasn't another Malcolm.
It wasn't a shouty, charismatic, forceful sort of person.
It was someone in a suit who looked like, you know, he works in a bank.
The only thing I knew I was going to hold onto was that is his striving to control, calm, and to disguise everything behind a smile, however furious, however ambitious he was.
Everything is camouflaged within a smile.
He sort of tries to be charming and nice and wants you to like him and when clearly you don't like him, he doesn't like that.
Would you please fucking, well (LAUGHING) Do you know, I'm sorry.
I lost my temper.
Where is it? Where is it? Where is it? Oh, I know, I've found it again.
It's all right.
He's this person who normally sees himself as being on top of things, controlled, safe pair of hands, who, when he goes, just goes to another country.
I am going to join Dan Miller's team and then we are going to take you down.
We are going to take you down to Funky Town! Funky Town Centre, here you come! Choo fucking choo! Is this what you're threatening me with, fucking disco lights and a fucking choo-choo train? - Had enough? - You're a joke, Steve.
Malcolm is definitely a fighter, not a quitter.
And the thing about Malcolm is that he's doing the best with what he's got.
And what he's got is basically the dregs.
Off the record, matey, am I fucked? Off the record, and this is strictly between you, me and that ornamental gate post over there Of course.
the report is strictly confidential until publication.
(CHUCKLING) Do you see what I've done there? Yeah, it was funny.
While I was shooting that scene I was thinking, "This is bizarre.
" Because these are these two odd characters who have got you know, are not two of the central characters of any of the episodes, you know.
And suddenly they're kind of driving the whole story along.
But they're kind of a pair of slightly dysfunctional men, really, standing around in the park trying to sort their lives out, which was odd.
There was something about They're a sort of administrative Likely Lads.
Yeah, we are pathetic but powerful, and it's an odd thing that you find, I think, in public life.
If you look at a local council, some of those figures at a local level are sort of really quite ludicrous, really.
But they possess a lot of power.
I mean, all that dark arts and spinning, that's yester-Malcolm.
That's not You know, that's not me any more.
I like the new me.
I mean, I feel 20 years younger.
TERRl: And you look it.
You look 20 years younger as - Do I? - Mmm.
You're looking great yourself, you know, at the moment.
Yeah, Malcolm, he's a bit like, um, Gandalf, when he goes from being Grey Gandalf to White Gandalf.
You know, you I spent all my time looking at White Gandalf going, "I don't understand.
Didn't you just fall off that thing "with a dragon?" You know, "Are you real now or what?" And I kind of like I love the way Peter just plays it really down, so you just think, "He's not shouting, his vein isn't throbbing.
"What's going on? He's making tea.
I don't understand.
"This is even more unsettling "than having, kind of standing right there in front of me, "shouting at me.
" You can get great political comebacks.
If you're a politician, you can do a Mandelson and keep coming back again and again and again.
But for a spin doctor, it's difficult.
I think some are very tribal, they would never cross.
Cross the floor, so to speak.
Others, I think, are more dedicated to the art, to the job of government.
And less to the party.
And I also read sort of speculation as to, you know, what's going to happen in the next series.
Will Malcolm cross the floor? Will he be signed up? Malcolm would never do anything like that.
He will go down fighting, even if it's only him and a little girl left behind.
You know, he'll put a helmet on that little girl, give her a shield and a sword and tell her to get the fuck out there and stab someone.
He will not give up.
JB, Cal Richards, and their hordes of fucking robots.
They're coming over the hill towards us.
And all you have got to do is this.
Bend down, pick up any fucking weapon you can and twat the fuckery out of them! As we were shooting those last scenes, there was a certain atmosphere.
'Cause we shoot in chronological, in story order, so that last scenes to be shot on the very last day were the closing scenes of the last episode, as everyone was leaving for the election, sort of not quite knowing what was going to happen next.
So it could very well be the last time they were all in the room together.
At the very end when we were walking away, the characters are walking away, and I thought, "God, this genuinely is it.
" And you and I walked out round the corner to where what's called "the video village" is stationed, which is the monitors on which the director and the heads of department watch the takes.
So that we could see, we could view, the final ever moments of this thing.
And we walked round, and I stood there and as I realised it was the last moments, I thought, "I should find James.
We should stand and watch this together.
" And I look round, and you were rooting about for a sandwich in the sandwich box! And I thought, "Ah, fuck him, then.
" - You've got Thank you.
- Oh, sorry, I scratched you.
Honestly, it's I just want to say, honestly I mean it.
They're all so emotionally stunted as characters.
So the fact that Nicola can't even shake hands with Glenn 'cause she's busy eating an apple is a symbol of that just inability to actually articulate.
So they all just sort of shuffle around and just go, "Well, uh" (MUTTERING) - Mmm.
- And I think in some ways, because we're British, you know, that makes it more poignant because it's all unsaid.
Whether they come back as the government, we don't know.
But I do think a lot of really interesting stuff will happen in the next 12 months.
So, you know, that should feed into the next series.
I like those sudden changes, which politics is good at delivering of, like, it's all over, you know, you've got to move out of the White House.
And I think there's something quite thrilling about democracy, about, "Sorry, mate, you're all off.
It's all over.
" And it's pretty brutal, I think, to the people involved.
My experience is I've been a minister for nearly eight years now.
If you take Yes Minister, and you mix in a bit of The Thick of It and you mix in a bit of The West Wing and you mix in a bit of EastEnders, it's more like that.
Watch my lips.
Cal Richards is not here.
- STEWART: Cal! - Hello.
- Hi.
- This is Stewart.
- Hi, Stewart.
Good to see you.
- I didn't know about this.
- JB didn't say anything.
- Hello, everyone.
I just wanted it to be a surprise.
For those who have followed the programmes and In the Loop and so on, there's a little in-joke there with who it is that's playing it.
But I also cast because I've seen Tom do that sort of, you know, focused ball of fury really well.
This government has run this country into the ground.
This used to be a green and pleasant land, now it's the colour of the fucking BBC weather map.
It looks like anaemic dogshit.
There's, you know, as the election's called, this little signal that there is a dark heart at the heart of opposition tactics as well.
So it will be a mighty titanic fight between both sides, come the election.
During the election the government runs on autopilot, which it pretty much does anyway, except there isn't a politician pretending to take the credit as they normally do.
- Did I miss anything? - Well, uh, Glenn won a pound - on a scratch card.
- That's my retirement sorted.
So, we get out there and hust, do we? - Hmm? - Hust.
We go to the hustings.
I'd be interested to know what happens to the nation's economy during an election campaign when there's no one running the country, effectively.
It'd be an interesting little study to see whether actually we kind of Our output goes up, feel-good factor increases.
I don't know.
It'd be interesting.