Peter Capaldi says The Thick Of It could not be remade because politics now is ‘beyond a joke’

Peter Capaldi says The Thick Of It could not be remade because politics now is ‘beyond a joke’

Peter Capaldi has said that a reboot of the dark political comedy The Thick Of It would be too pertinent given the current climate of contemporary British politics.

The 2005 BBC series, which starred Capaldi as the foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, satirised the inner workings of the British government, and was often credited for mirroring real-life policies, cabinet dynamics and political scandals.

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr on LBC, Capaldi told the host he is “not terribly keen” on a potential reboot of the series because the state of contemporary politics is “beyond a joke”.

Capaldi said: “Well, you know, the reason I’m not terribly keen on it is because I think it’s beyond a joke. And joking about it just in some way, takes the spotlight away from the problems. And I think that [the] problems are profound.”

“We’re in the middle of a climate crisis, we’re in the middle of a time when we can’t trust the government, there seems to be a level of corruption that’s going on that’s quite extraordinary.”

He continued: “Listen, we could do The Thick Of It, which was really funny, that would make jokes about all that, but I think it would be letting them off in some way.”

Asked if he believes a reboot of The Thick Of It would “trivialise” the current issues in contemporary politics, he replied: “Yeah, I think it’s too serious. These are hard times politically and we have to be responsible and aware.”

The Thick Of It, created by Scottish satirist Armando Giovanni Iannucci, initially began with a small cast focusing on a government minister, his special advisors and the party’s spin doctor, but the cast was expanded for specials that coincided with Gordon Brown’s appointment as prime minister in 2007.

Peter Capaldi in ‘The Thick Of It’ (BBC)
Peter Capaldi in ‘The Thick Of It’ (BBC)

During the David Cameron-Nick Clegg coalition government that formed in 2010, a fourth series of the programme was aired about a fictional coalition government. The last episode of the series aired on 27 October 2012.

In 2021, Capaldi said that his Machiavellian character Tucker would be “too good” to exist in the political world.

At the time, Dominic Cummings, who was the prime minister’s chief aide until he walked out of Downing Street in November 2021, had made a series of claims about the government’s inner workings and its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Capaldi was asked how Tucker would have responded to Cummings’ claims.

He said: “I can’t really say what Malcolm would say because the language would be unusable.

“But I think in many ways what we are seeing... is like The Thick of It because of the levels of vitriol and absurdity and ego that are going on.

“At the same time, it is beyond that. It is a kind of tragicomic situation without the comic bit and I think it is beyond a joke.

“These are the people who are supposed to look after us and they are behaving in a way that is not funny.

“So I don’t even think Malcolm would exist in this world. He is too good for this world.”

In 2016, Series creator Iannucci ruled out a revival of the satire, saying the “alien and awful” world of politics at the time would be hard to match.