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16th October 2012 09:00:00
Posted by Nick Bryan

The Thick Of It – Series 4 – Midway Review

Midway review of The Thick Of It series four from the BBC, starring Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Roger Allam et al. Produced by Armando Iannucci.
Well, let’s be honest, I’ve missed the midway point of TheThick Of It, they’ve shown five out of seven since I posted my initial recommendation, and now we only have two episodes left.

But things are starting to get intriguing, so I wanted to say something anyway. How are Peter Mannion, Nicola Murray and the all-powerful Malcolm Tucker doing? Spoilers, obviously - go watch all five episodes on iPlayer first.

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I say “intruiging”, so I’m obviously liking it. But it’s also true to say that Thick Of It has wandered afield of its situation comedy brief. Go back and watch the earlier episodes – the really old ones with Chris Langham – and they were just funny. But nowadays, Iannucci and co have taken flight into full-on comedy-drama.

Not to say that the recent episodes haven’t been funny; Thick Of It still has the best one-liners on television. But since the disastrous slide photo in episode three, we haven’t really seen comedy climaxes.

Fortunately, I love a good comedy-drama, and I’m perfectly happy with either brand of this show. This weekend, we’re headed for an hour-long inquiry special and I’m excited – especially since Iannucci has been hinting that we may never get another full series, so big things could really happen. Will Roger Allam’s Poeter Mannion keep his job? Either way, his weariness has been spectacular.

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I’m worried for Olly Reeder, Chris Addison’s character, who left hospital without waiting for discharge in the most recent episode, and has looked peaky in the background ever since. Will the finale see him dead, or at least severely unwell? Would death be too dramatic even for the new direction?

Don’t get me wrong, Reeder is an amoral, overambitious arse, but we’ve kinda grown through the years with him. I can’t imagine Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker would be taken down, simply because they’ll want him for any future specials, but his character has been so outright villainous in recent episodes that comeuppance seems inevitable.

Anyway, I’m clearly still invested in this, to a huge degree. And even if they’ve deviated from their original blueprint, The Thick Of It is still one of the great shows. Hopefully the next two weeks will give it a great ending.

You can see The Thick Of It on iPlayer, and get more information on the BBC official Thick Of It site.