If 2020 has shown the United Kingdom anything, it is our political system in all of its satirical glory. One particular sitcom that springs to mind is The Thick of It, created by Armando Iannucci in 2005, and finishing in 2012. Now, the show seems to serve as a repetitive blueprint for viewers to identify what goes on behind the doors of Downing Street. When interviewed, Iannucci found out that politicians had complimented him on the accuracies of the show, even down to them “creating new policies in the back of cabs”.
The Thick Of It is Iannucci’s interpretation of the classic comedy Yes Minister (1986-1988), satirising the inner workings of the modern British Government and how the spin doctors act as masterminds to protect the best interests of the ministers.
Using the cinema verité technique, where the camera crew follow the cast as if it was an actual documentary, it makes the viewer feel like they are getting a sneak peek inside 10 Downing Street. Iannucci’s political engagement comes through in his casting of the show, as you have the pen-pushing senior civil servants, highly opinionated policy advisors, discombobulated ministers and of course, the battle between the press and the spin doctors, trying to coax out the truth on what really happens in Government.
The beauty of this sitcom is the fact that there is no laughter track, again, making you question whether you are watching a documentary or a sitcom. I think given the choice of quotes below, we will let you decide.
In this article, I will be listing my top ten quotes from The Thick of It, whilst linking it to the political ongoings of 2020 and 2021, aka. the years we want to forget.
No.10 – “IT’S A F**KING LOCKDOWN”
How many times have we heard this one? The first one in March 2020 if you are a resident of Greater Manchester like me and we have had mini miserable lockdowns since. I can feel my inner Nicola Murray shouting ‘we’re not in a prison drama’ when the inner me constantly dispels the myth.
No.9 – “There has been a massive, irretrievable data loss”
Four words, home secretary Priti Patel and the case of the 400,000 deleted police records. Whilst technicians frantically scramble to recover some the deletions, it is not known whether Ms Patel has found the ‘backup’ on a pen drive.
No.8 – “The cameramen are laughing”
Where do I even begin to relate this quote to real-life politics, it is so versatile in its honesty. I think the most recent image that springs to mind is our health secretary shedding a tear when he saw video footage of a patient receiving their first vaccine dose.
No.7 – “Feet off the furniture you Oxbridge t***, you’re not on a punt now”
You remember that picture of our Prime Minister with his feet resting on his desk at No.10, yeah? No further words needed.
No.6 – “I’ve booked you in for the usual soapy t** w**k farewell at No. 10”
Nothing has happened yet in the way of resignations but, given that the Prime Minister ‘accepted full responsibility’ for the death toll, it is only a matter of time before I predict, he will be booking in.
No.5 – “Oh, who cares about the opinion of some golf-obsessed prick in a bow tie?”
Ah yes, I mean, what even is the use of following the advice of SAGE committee members, all they do is advise us against a quick tee after telling us that shutting us in will save lives. Sadly, none of the SAGE committee wear bow ties.
No.4 – “I could rape a cat now and I wouldn’t get a paragraph”
Ah, the one day when the UK was given a glimmer of hope about the vaccination centres were being set up on January 6th 2021, the US descended into the start of a second civil war at the US Capitol. Sadly, the bad news of Jay Kay’s hat being appropriated for this atrocity overshadowed the UK’s glimmer of good news. We do not want anybody however to start civil wars or assault cats.
No.3 – “I’m bored of this, I’m going for a Twix”
Did anybody torture themselves watching the rather petulant work and pensions minister Thérèse Coffey meet her snappy match in Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, she threw a tantrum after he interrupted her by repeating the exact words she said and she upped and left the interview.
No.2 – “We can’t go with celebrities, it’s a sign of a dying government”
Ah yes, let us pretend we support Manchester United football Marcus Rashford for calling us out on our Dickensian views on ending funding for free school dinners. We gave him an MBE for it and he is still harping on about it, but our money does need to go to Dido Harding and the failed testing system.
No.1- “Who was it that did your media training, Myra Hindley?”
Although Jeremy Paxman no longer grills our politicians, that doesn’t mean that they are short of their fair share of journalists to expose them for their strengths, and their failures. Especially the likes of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who is being pressured by the media to resign, whether that will happen by the time this article goes out, I only hope he gets a Tucker style telling off.
So these are some examples of our government using the political satire as a reference book for their practices. Although the thought of that is disturbing and concerning. It shows how timeless the portrayal of the UK government by The Thick Of It is and how the one-liners can be applied in generations to come. From the filming techniques, to the script, you will question whether you have just turned on the news as it is that realistic, at this current moment though, nobody can be too sure.
This article was written by guest contributor Daisy Lacey.
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