We've compiled this helpful guide for the characters of The Thick of It
and how they fit into the intricate edifice of the British Political System
. The show expects you to know even the most minor, tertiary characters by sight and in name-drops even if they've only had five minutes of consecutive screen time a half-dozen episodes apart
, and good luck following exactly what is going on if you don't.
The Government (Series 1-3); The Opposition (Series 4)
Was the the ruling party and civil servants, until the end of Series 3. The mighty
have now fallen, and have spent the last two years in Opposition. Less Left-wing than in the past, and more image-conscious and spin-obsessed, the unnamed Party has much in common with New Labour
The Prime Minister (Series 1 & 2, The Specials.)
The first Prime Minister was simply referred to as "The Prime Minister" and virtually nothing was known about him, other than his fondness for changing his mind often.
Tom Davis (Series 3)
By series three the original Prime Minister had resigned and been replaced by a new Party Leader, now with a name but still unseen. Known to have poor communication skills and mental health issues, his supporters were known as "Nutters".
Malcolm Tucker, Leader of the Opposition's Director Of Communications (previously the Prime Minister's Director Of Communications)
"I'm a man of principle: I like to know whether I'm lying to save the skin of a tosser or a moron."
An unelected employee of the Party, Malcolm nonetheless appeared to be the most powerful person in government while the Party was in power. As the Party's most senior press officer he is responsible for crisis management PR and also acted as an enforcer, ensuring all of the cabinet departments follow the party line. Fiercely loyal to the Party, his overall objective was to keep them in power by any means necessary. Now they are out of power, it's his raison d'Ítre to get them back in...
- Anti-Hero: A Type IV or Type V. As the antagonist, he is much worse.
- Anti-Villain: Type III See Knight Templar below.
- Bad Boss: He surely must be a rather abusive boss of the Party.
- The Bully: Don't ever call him one though. He is so much worse than that.
- The Chessmaster
- Cluster F-Bomb: His first specialty.
- Country Matters
- Deadpan Snarker: Big time, especially when he's not actually resorting to outright abuse.
- Death Glare: "Have I got my bollocking face on?...No, this◊ is my bollocking face."
- The Determinator
- Dragon-in-Chief: Malcolm is technically subordinate to the leader of his party, (even if said leader is Nicola Murray!) but you could be forgiven for forgetting that, considering two of the party leaders were The Unseen, and the third was...not exactly a powerful figure.
- The Dreaded: Almost everyone in the series is terrified of him.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Malcolm's fate after the election, if The Missing DoSaC Files are any indication. Also the e-mails re: the lost folder. And his e-mail address is now "firstname.lastname@example.org".
- Even Evil Has Standards: When dealing with the scandal surrounding Nicola's daughter, he did seem very mindful that Nicola was first and foremost a distraught mother. He even tried to comfort her and give her a (terrible) pep talk when she started crying in his office.
- In the official spin-off book The Missing DoSaC Files (by the show's writing team), Malcolm is openly sympathetic towards Nicola with regards to an incident in the series in which the press manipulate her into standing in front of a campaign sign in such a way as to make the sign say "I AM BENT." He is actually complimentary to Nicola for her handling of the affair (something almost unheard of for Malcolm). This is also reflected to a lesser degree in the episode itself.
- During the Goolding Inquiry, Malcolm claims he would never target "real people", non-politicians. How he reconciles the Tickells apparently not being "real people" is anyone's guess.
- Faux Affably Evil
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Or spin doctor, rather.
- Possible exception of Jamie MacDonald who engages in somewhat friendly banter with Malcolm in In the Loop, especially its deleted scenes, though less so in the series itself.
- Gay Bravado
- Girly Run
- The Heavy: In any episode where the party leader's wishes become relevant to DoSaC, it is always Malcolm who brings the news and steers it to one conclusion or another.
- Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: Mike Ticker, protagonist of Ticker Time. (The Missing DoSAC Files.)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His plan to undermine Nicola by making sure the file for 'Quiet Batpeople' was on full display for the cameras ultimately backfires on him when it's revealed in a blow-up of the picture that he had Mr. Tickell's mobile number, NHS details and the unlisted number of Mr. Tickell's ex-wife—displayed in the same way the 'Quiet Bat People' file was displayed—, all of which was leaked after the picture was taken. Whatever confidence Malcolm had in the Inquiry evaporates completely.
- Hollywood Atheist: His Facebook page lists: "Don't waste my time with all that floppy donkey dick" as his "Religious Views".
- Jerkass: Hoo boy. He was a rather nasty person to everyone at work. And let's not start from the fact that he is the Party's resident Bad Boss.
- Jerk Jock: Essentially a workplace version.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Once in a very long while, he'll indulge in this. Though he'll rip your teeth and fingernails out if You ever think of mentioning it or pointing it out.
- Kick the Dog: He does a nice line in this, e.g. "Sorry you had to go, but let's face it, you're a fucking waste of skin."
- Knight Templar: Downplayed He knows that he isn't a Knight In Shining Armour but he sees himself as more of a Unscrupulous Hero instead of a Anti-Villain. He also genuinely believes that his party could do good, and that his actions are for the greater good.
- Kubrick Stare
- Large Ham: Peter Capaldi clearly enjoyed himself a lot.
- Lean and Mean
- Manipulative Bastard: The phrase "Malcovellian" doesn't exist for nothing.
- Married to the Job
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: It goes without saying that Peter Capaldi is far, far nicer than Malcolm.
- Memetic Badass: In universe and out.
- Nice to the Waiter: Rude as he is to civil servants and politicos, he's nice to regular staff, including cleaners.
- The Nicknamer: He has a nickname for EVERYONE he encounters, he favors comparisons to celebrities most of all.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, among others.
- He's also got a touch of Harvey Weinstein thrown in.
- Papa Wolf: For his party.
- And to Sam, to some extent.
- Punch Clock Villain
- Real Men Wear Pink
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Regularly dishes these out throughout the series, possibly the standout may be the one he gives to Nicola after she gets forced out of her job.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: All together now: And How!
- Tall, Dark and Snarky
- Tranquil Fury: Most of the time, Malcolm Tucker is a screaming raging freight train of pure anger. However, if he ever plays this trope straight, you are in deep deep deep trouble.
- Guttural Growler: Produces some rather unnerving harmonics when really annoyed, "Don't you ever call me a bully, I'm so much worse than that."
- He calls it whisperboarding.
- Tsundere: He's basically Type A. He's actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but he goes tsun whenever party politics is involved. Which, given the nature of the show, is all the fucking time.
- The Unfettered
- Villainous Breakdown: Some stonking cases, often with bonus This Is Your Brain on Evil and Don't You Dare Pity Me!.
- Violent Glaswegian
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He genuinely believes in the party manifesto and will fight to the death for it.
- Would Not Hit a Girl: Glenn isn't, strictly speaking, a woman.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: His second specialty.
Samantha "Sam" Cassidy
"Happy Birthday Malcolm!"
Malcolm's PA and one true confidante. He is genuinely fond of her and the feeling is mutual: she is the only character who really understands him and doesn't view him as a complete bastard. When Malcolm gets fired
in Series 3 Sam actually cries while everyone else is celebrating, and Malcolm comes running in to comfort her.
Jamie MacDonald, Senior Press Officer, Number 10
"From now on it's a proper fight—it's a pub fight, Motherwell rules."
Jamie runs the testosterone-charged Number 10 press office and as Malcolm's unofficial second-in-command he also helps him with his enforcer duties. He came into conflict with Malcolm during the specials, and disappeared as of series three
. However, he's still alive, well, and employed, and exchanging combative e-mails with Malcolm, as per The Missing DoSaC Files
- All There in the Manual: His full name is given in The Missing DoSaC Files, though it is also given in In the Loop.
- Bastard Understudy: To Malcolm. As the specials make clear, however, Malcolm has chosen well; while Jamie is smart and competent, he lacks Malcolm's Magnificent Bastardry and finesse, and is basically a shouty, violent bully who ultimately poses no real threat.
- Berserk Button: Al Jolson fanatic. Dissing Al Jolson makes him even angrier
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome / Put on a Bus: He isn't seen or mentioned during the third series.
- The Bus Came Back: Sort of. He is, however, featured in the post-Series-3 tie-in material.
- Cluster F-Bomb
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon
- The Dragon
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- Jerkass: Even more so than Malcolm, if that's possible.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In "Spinners and Losers", he screams at and bullies Robyn when she helpfully chips in with an unprompted suggestion for Cliff Lawton's leadership bid. Robyn then scuttles Jamie's plans by telling Terri that Jamie is meeting Lawton, as Terri then goes on to spill to Malcolm.
- The Napoleon
- Nice to the Waiter: He'll scream and swear his head off to people in power, including civil servants, with no compunction, but when he unintentionally knocks into a cleaner, he's all apologies.
- No Indoor Voice
- Only One Name: Until The Movie and the book at least.
- Psycho for Hire
- Smug Snake: Unlike Malcolm, he doesn't have the charm or manipulation skills to be a Magnificent Bastard.
- Men Are Uncultured
- Violent Glaswegian
The Department Of Social Affairs (and Citizenship)
"Citizenship involves, basically, cutting pensions to the Gurkhas
, re-jigging the protocols for a rabies outbreak, some crap from Health about long-term care for the elderly, that neither they nor we have any real idea about."
Glenn Cullen: "And everything to do with the Isle of Man."
As a newly-created "super department" with a wide range of duties, DoSaC's remit is confusing but among other things it covers housing, immigration and benefits. It is the least glamorous of the Cabinet departments and the one which no MPs want to run. A fictional department, it is comparable to the Real Life
Department for Communities and Local Government. The department itself invokes the The Main Characters Do Everything
trope, as Glenn and Olly have already explained above.
This department was run by the following characters in Series 1-3:
Cliff Lawton MP
"It's the bollocks of the jungle out there. They're like wolves- pissed wolves."
The Minister for Social Affairs when the series started, Malcolm forced him to resign in the very first episode.
- Boring Insult: Subjected to this from both Malcolm and Jamie.
- Butt Monkey
- Decoy Protagonist
- He's Back: Subverted; just when it looks like Jamie is about to boost him into the position of rival candidate, Malcolm cottons on and aborts the plan. Meanwhile, Cliff goes as far as saying "I'm back!" before Jamie wearily tells him to fuck off.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against Malcolm, and utterly ineffectual.
- Small Name, Big Ego: It's a small moment, but in the middle of Malcolm sacking him, he tries to insist Malcolm call him "Minister". Malcolm tells him to "get used to Cliff."
- Wangst: Invoked; after hearing him base his entire stalking-horse speech on his sacking by Malcolm, Jamie accuses Cliff of this and makes it as clear as possible that there's no point in doing so when every single politician in the current government has had to do the same thing and worse at some point.
Hugh Abbott MP (Series 1-2)
"I categorically did not knowingly not tell the truth. Even though unknowingly I might not have done."
Cliff Lawton's replacement. During his time there the department was re-branded "The Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship", or DoSAC. He lacks "click" with his constituents, other politicians and (most upsetting to Hugh) the PM's wife.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dirty Coward: Hugh forces Terri to humiliatingly accept blame and publicly apologize on television for something that was 100% his fault. He is slimy, shameless and as cowardly as they come.
- At one point, he hides in a storage room to avoid Malcolm's wrath.
- Hypocrite: Over Flatgate.
- It's All About Me: When informed of Terri's father passing away, his immediate response is to say that he himself has just suffered a similar tragedy: He lacks "click" with the Prime Ministers wife.
- Jade-Colored Glasses
- The Last DJ: He tries to present himself as the only minister with any kind of humanity left in politics, especially in comparison with "that fucking brushed aluminum Dan Miller cyberprick." The reality is infinitely less impressive.
- Married to the Job: While he is married and has two children, by his own admission he barely has time to see them.
- Never My Fault: After using Terri's email to send a vulgar email to Glenn that accidentally ends up being sent to a child with special needs also called Glenn, he spends the episode shifting all the blame on to Terri and aalso say's he will stand by her regardless of what "she" did. Terri rightly calls him out immediately.
- Lack of Empathy: From time to time, Hugh will demonstrate that he is almost completely oblivious when it comes to the emotions of other human beings. Along with responding to the "Flatgate" and "Your Own Mother's Piss" fiasco's with a boderline-hilarious It's All About Me attitude, he goes out of his way to back out of conversations with anyone who isn't a journalist during the Episode 6 press party, and even orders Terri to return to work despite knowing that she's on leave and in mourning. To be precise, he does so just a few seconds after learning that Terri's father has just died, with Terri still audibly sobbing in the background. And then he goes on to claim that he's just suffered a similar tragedy—being told that he lacks "click" with the PM's wife.
- Put on a Bus: Hugh goes on a tour of Australia during the specials...
- Bus Crash: ...and never comes back after losing his Cabinet position in the reshuffle in Series 3.
- The Stoic
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
Nicola Murray, MP (Series 3), Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
"I mean, I have about as much real power as those twats who sit either side of Alan Sugar."
Hugh Abbott's replacement following a reshuffle at the start of Series 3. Ambitious but with no real ideas, her belief that she can make a difference proves to be a delusion. By Series 4, she has become Leader of the Opposition.
- Awful Wedded Life: Is on the verge of divorce with James, her unseen husband.
- Butt Monkey
- Cannot Tell a Joke
- The Chew Toy: All of Series 4.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Being around Malcolm turns her from a naive MP to a foul-mouthed savvy politician; unfortunately, it doesn't stop the constant flow of screw-ups.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's certainly not averse to snarking back at Malcolm.
- Dirty Coward
- Failure Hero
- Hypocrite: Over everything... but most of all her plan to promote social mobility and state education while sending her daughter to a private school.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Nicola isn't the brightest, but she does display enough political acuity to knowingly bomb a press conference to take the heat off Malcolm. Alternatively, she's displaying a touch of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, knowing that her prospects of a leadership bid are nil after a disastrous day and a particularly awful press conference, and she's taking a swipe at Malcolm's error contributing to the day's events. Or both!
- Pointy-Haired Boss
- Small Name, Big Ego: Despite being regularly humiliated by the press and only becoming Opposition Leader on a technicality, Nicola honestly thought she had a shot at being prime minister.
- Admittedly, Nicola was showing signs of this in her first season: at one point, she gloated at how well she was doing on BBC radio- even though her only victory had been due to someone calling in with a report on the opposition accepting funds from a sweatshop.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: According to Rebecca Front, the character was largely inspired by a discussion with a political consultant who told her that the worst nightmare for someone like Malcolm would be a politician who believed in things.
- 0% Approval Rating: As powerless as she was during her time as head of DoSAC, Nicola at least had the support of her staff. After becoming Leader of the Opposition, Nicola ended up earning the disrespect and mockery of almost everyone she encountered on a day-to-day basis: members of public openly deride her attempts at securing power; journalists hound her at every turn, accompanied by the dreaded "Chop"; her assistants openly insult her; the rest of the shadow cabinet laugh at her ideas... even Steve Fleming went out of his way to publicly state that she was un-electable.
Ben Swain MP, Junior Minister for Immigration, DoSAC (Series 1-3)
"Look at this! Takeaway and a fight. All I need now is a handjob in a bus shelter and I'll have had the great British night out."
A junior minister to Hugh Abbott, in series three he transferred to the Department of Education after Nicola Murray sacked him from DoSaC off-screen. He is petty and immature, slow on the uptake, and has a mega
nervous blink. By the beginning of Series 4, he is a Shadow Secretary of State for an unknown department.
Glenn Cullen, DoSAC Senior Policy Adviser
"I feel like I'm in a therapy group being run by my own rapist."
Divorced and depressed, Glenn has been working as an adviser for around thirty years and knows no other way of life. He is Hugh's best mate and confidante, and after Hugh's departure in a reshuffle, tries to make himself valuable to Nicola. In series three he attempts to run for election as an MP himself, but since he's Glenn, Failure Is the Only Option
. He joins a different party during the election but is dismayed when they join a coalition with JB. He is still a policy advisor at DoSAC as of Series 4.
- Beleaguered Assistant
- Butt Monkey
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dogged Nice Guy: To Robyn.
- Hypocritical Humor: Being arguably the most moral character, this tends to happen when he does something dishonorable. Most of the time he does the right thing, but in Season Two he praises Malcolm for framing Terri, who had just lost her father, for a crime Hugh committed, and makes light of her situation. It is clear that Glenn has no sympathy for anyone that hasn't earned his respect.
- The Last DJ: By comparison, only. Glenn is as dishonest and underhanded as everyone else on the show, but he's the only one shown to feel bad about it. He eventually resigns, disgusted with himself, after lying under oath in an enquiry.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Glenn doesn't seem to let political fights affect who he socializes with in his downtime at work. He and Julius Nicholson dine and listen to a cricket match together as his department having its dirty laundry in the media aired thanks to Julius' leaks. Likewise, he and Phil hang out and talk about the identity of the stig as Phil was drying his pants at the same time their respective ministers (who they were supposed to be helping) were having a one-on-one radio debate against each other.
- Obsolete Mentor: "I may be needed. I've been needed in the past." Poor Glenn, no-one's wanted his opinion or advice on anything since Series 2. It's now so long ago that Hugh being deeply interested in his opinion practically counts as Early Installment Weirdness.
- Rant Inducing Slight: When Mr. Tickell has committed suicide, Glenn is having a My God, What Have I Done? moment on behalf of what his party has done to cause it. But when his colleagues refer to Mr. Tickell as "Mr. Tickle" one too many times, he cuts loose on them.
His name was Tickell! We drove a man to his death! We are responsible for this.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When he finally gets fed up and quits at the end of Season 4, he takes great pleasure in telling every single person in the office who's ever pissed him off why he hates them so much. At length.
- He also delivers a very bitter one to Olly during the inquiry on leaking.
- Spanner in the Works: In Season 4 and the Specials. To the point that he would be a Magnificent Bastard if he actually meant to do any of it or did it with any degree of competence.
- Spot of Tea: Glenn seems spend half his time in Series 4 offering to make tea for people. It doesn't get him any love or respect. Indeed, people use it as an excuse to sidle out of the room when he's not looking.
- Those Two Guys: With Olly in the first three series and two specials.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Also with Olly.
- You Need to Get Laid
Olly Reeder, DoSAC Policy Adviser (Series 1-3), Special Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
"Yeah, you think it's my finger, bitch."
Olly spent a year in a think tank before joining the Department. A graduate of "Poxbridge", he is book-smart but not streetwise. Ruthlessly ambitious and unscrupulous in his attempts to further his political career, he can be untrustworthy and disloyal, although his ambitions seem to cool down in series 3. Made himself useful by dating Emma Messinger, a policy adviser to DoSAC shadow minister Peter Mannion MP, and also dated journalist Angela Heaney.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder
- Dating Catwoman: His relationship with Emma, in that he would have her job were his party in opposition.
- And his relationship with Angela, a journalist and, hence, the enemy, which Malcolm wastes no time in capitalizing upon.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Deuteragonist: After Malcolm, he gets the most consistent focus throughout the series.
- The Dragon: Becomes this in Season Four.
- Face-Heel Turn: In Season Four, culminating in how he helps destroy Nicola's career and betrays his friend, Glenn.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Older Than They Look: Chris Addison. Olly is meant to be in his early 20s and looks no older than 22. Chris Addison turned 40(!) in 2011.
- In his standup-comedy act, Addison credits his youthful appearance to bathing in the blood of children.
- Small Name, Big Ego: There is a vast gulf between Olly's own opinion of his abilities and his actual abilities.
- Smug Snake: Olly tends to come across as rather slimy and weaselly, and on the whole is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Early episodes credit Chris Addison as playing "Olly Reeder", which is later changed to "Oliver Reeder", while The Missing DoSAC Files has him sign himself as Ollie.
- The Starscream: In the Specials.
- He ends up with Malcolm's old job at the end of Season 4, although it's pretty heavily implied that he's nowhere near being capable of it and, as Malcolm himself suggests with typical caustic bluntness, will crash and burn before too long.
- Those Two Guys: With Glenn while they're in the same department.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Glenn, a relationship that survives even into series four (but presumably does not survive the inquiry).
- Took a Level in Kindness: Becomes less traitorous and generally a bit nicer in series three. As of series four, though, he seems to be shaping up for a Bastard Understudy to Malcolm.
- It's implied that he's uncomfortable doing the things Malcolm does in Series 4, as well. Then, of course, he destroys Malcolm, possibly in part out of resentment for what Malcolm has made him become as well as the satisfaction of proving his own cunning.
- Yes-Man: To Ben Swain in the specials, when it looked like Ben was going to be the new sheriff in town.
Terri Coverly, Director of Communications, DoSAC
"Well, you know, I'm just trying to do my best and make sure I can still get home by six o'clock"
As a civil servant, Terri does not get involved in party politics and has remained in her job regardless of which party is in power, which is probably why she can't be arsed with it. She coordinates the department's media relations, and is one of the few characters to have a life outside of work.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Peter Mannion.
- Fat Idiot
- Flanderization: She seemed a lot more competent in the first series. By the time of the third series she's reached the point where she's known even among the Opposition as "the useless one".
- Fridge Brilliance: At the end of the second series, Terri suffers a great deal of upheaval in her personal life. It is not until after this trauma that the quality of her work drops off, and in Series 3 she admits that she tries to take more time for herself outside of work.
- Terri also used to be one of the nicer characters on the show (well, nice compared to everyone else). Then at the end of series one, she's forced to fall on her sword and make a public statement/apology for something Hugh did, with little to no support from anyone whatsoever. By the time Series 3 rolls around, Terri is one the bitchiest, nastiest people on the show.
- In Series 4, she straight-up tells Glenn that she wants out and is looking to pick up a redundancy package, suggesting she may have been playing to her reputation. She also seems to have no problem managing the Tickell crisis while Stewart's unreachable.
- The Load: She develops a pretty strong reputation as this, being described as "the blockage".
- Of Course I Smoke: Despite being a non-smokers, she has a cigarette with Peter so she can try and flirt with him. (He doesn't notice either the flirting or that she is rather obviously not a smoker.)
- Ted Baxter
- Stalker with a Crush to Peter Mannion. He is dying to get her made redundant in Series 4, saying "she's a fart in a frock, and I want to waft her out of here!"
- Ultimate Job Security: As a civil servant she's almost impossible to get rid of, and she'll take the time to remind everyone else of it, too.
Robyn Murdoch, Senior Press Officer, DoSAC
"Give them all of the lines to say?"
Another civil servant, junior to Terri. Despite her job title Robyn's main duty is making tea.
Helen Hatley, Policy Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
"I don't think you got enough cuddles as a child."
A young, idealistic policy advisor, who has not yet learned not to get smart to Malcolm.
- Brainy Brunette
- Bullying a Dragon: The above quote concludes the first conversation we see her have with Malcolm. Amazingly, she lives.
- She's also very willing to bollock Nicola for her various cock-ups, and even though Nicola isn't all that scary, she is still her boss. Possibly Helen gets special privileges by virtue of being the only person in the party who is genuinely loyal to Nicola.
- The Fashionista: This is something of an Informed Attribute. The official website states one of her functions is to advise Nicola on fashion, however Helen dresses much the same as anyone else. (This could be Fridge Brilliance, as so do fashion designers.)
- NaÔve Newcomer: Particularly compared to Olly. However, she is a lot more competent than Olly was at the start of his tenure, and sees right through Malcolm and Olly's protestations of loyalty.
- Number Two: To Nicola.
- Remember the New Guy: The official website states she "was always Nicola Murray's first choice as special advisor, but only agreed to join Nicola's team when she became Leader."
- Slave to PR: Thus far, her main contributions to Nicola's team has been to help her practice walking with a wreath, and be seen nodding on television whilst pretending to talk to her.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist
Other Government Characters (Series 1-3)
Nick Hanway, Enforcer to Tom Davis
"Tom's not sure about you..."
As Tom Davis's right-hand man, "Nice Nutter Nick" was sure he would be taking over from Malcolm after the original Prime Minister's resignation. A little too
"I'm the new Che Guevara, all I need is a new moustache and some laser correction eye treatment"
A former business guru turned MP in the first two series, he also acted as a "Blue-Skies Thinker" to the Prime Minister, a meaningless job title given to him to keep him quiet. By series three he had been made a life peer, and as Lord Nicholson of Arnage he was put in a position of real power, causing problems for those who had initially refused to take him seriously.
Steve Fleming MP
A powerful and influential Cabinet Minister charged with enforcer duties, it is likely that he is a whip. Was once forced to resign by Malcolm and the two became sworn enemies. He later returned, determined to wreak revenge on Malcolm.
Dan Miller MP, Junior Minister (Series 1), Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
"If you're gonna make an omelette, you're going to have to have some frank and honest discussion with the eggs."
Powerful and influential
brushed aluminium cyberprick
young minister who has long been rumoured to be planning a leadership bid. Eventually succeeds in Series 4 given Nicola's fabulous success
as Leader of the Opposition.
Claire Ballentyne MP
"...but you didn't want to come here at all, did you Mr Abbott?"
Another influential MP, she is chair of the Select Committee. She takes no crap from anyone, least of all Hugh Abbott when he attempts to lie to the Committee. She also appeared in Spinners and Losers
, when Malcolm called on her for one of his Batman Gambits
Geoff Holhurst MP
"My head is the right size!"
Defence Minister, best known for being corrupt and having a tiny head. It was never firmly established if he was a tosser or a moron.
Utterly hapless press officer charged with looking after Nicola Murray during the Eastbourne Party Conference. Unfortunately the only thing he seems to be any good at is depriving a village somewhere of a twat
. He reappears in Season 4, just in time to help her make a cock up
of an interview with Sky.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Helen, who manages to project her utter and pointed lack of interest without saying a word.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Given a chance to talk, Duggan will almost certainly say something offensive—and try to cover it up with something that turns out to be even worse, and try to cover that up with something worse...
- The Ditz
- Don't Explain the Joke
- Lazy Bum: Much to Nicola's frustration, John seems to be in the habit of avoiding work wherever possible and excusing this as having a to-do list "longer than a big willy." For good measure, he barely seems to be in any sort of hurry when he says this.
- Muggles: John says of his ex-wife, "she was a muggle. Next wife's got to be a politico". He stares at Helen whilst saying this.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In his second episode, upon seeing that Nicola and Helen have abandoned him on the train, he finally drops his bumbling idiotic demeanour and starts screaming inaudibly at them through the window.
The Opposition (Series 1-3); The Government (Series 4)
Perhaps even more image-obsessed than the other party, it is hinted that they are also more elitist and that many members hold objectionable views. Comparable to the Conservative Party.
JB, Leader of the Opposition (The Specials, Series 3)
An old Etonian
who apparently keeps a clique of other Etonians about him. Little is known about him as (other than his taste for racist jokes), like the Prime Minister of Series 3, he is never seen. Now the Prime Minister.
Stewart Pearson, Opposition Director of Communications (The Specials, series 3), now the Prime Minister's Director of Communications
"Let's imagineer the narrative..."
An advertising executive recruited from the private sector, Stewart would seem to be the perfect choice for a party wanting to reposition themselves as more PC and eco-friendly. In practice, his liberal views are rather at odds with those of the party's old guard, especially Peter Mannion MP who he has trouble exerting control and influence over. His competence seems to have deteriorated somewhat in Season 4, due to the combination of having a coalition to keep under control and the problems of being in government rather than Opposition (meaning his media-friendly proposals can't be theoretical any more, and actually have to take the budget into consideration).
Peter Mannion MP, Shadow Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship (The Specials, series 3), now Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship (Series 4)
"I'm modern! I say "black" instead of "colored," I think women are a good thing, I have no problem with gays- most of them are very well turned out, especially the men. Why is it this last year I'm being made to feel as if I'm always two steps behind, like I can't program a video or convert everything back to old money? Because that's not me!"
One of the old guard, he is resistant to the new culture of spin and blanketly refuses to take Stewart seriously. He was a junior minister when his party were last in power. During this time he also got his housekeeper pregnant and twelve years later he still hasn't lived this down. Despite this he is one of the show's few sympathetic characters. By series four, he has become Minister of DoSAC and is unhappy at having to share power in the Coalition.
- Born in the Wrong Century: He's basically an old-school Tory who's been dragged kicking and screaming into a flashy, modern media-conscious party, and he hates almost everything about it.
- Break The Motivational Speaker: Peter seems to have made it his mission in life to verbally defeat Stewart, but for the most part, he hasn't had much success; however, after spending a whole morning enduring the idiocy of the Thought Camp, he manages to temporarily flummox Stewart during the "Yes and Ho" game by suggesting a new and innovative policy: Doing away with Stewart.
- He manages it again later on, when Stewart nags that he doesn't have JB's approval to proceed with a new policy; Mannion turns around and yells "Shut the fuck up you prancing shit." Stewart appears flabbergasted.
- Child Hater: "I hate school children. They're volatile and stupid and they haven't got the vote. Might as well be talking to fucking geese."
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dirty Coward: In the specials. Unlike most characters, he's gotten better by series 3.
- Friendly Enemy: During the Opposition's visit to DOSAC, Malcolm actually gets along fairly well with Peter, cheerfully trading insults and jokes; this is most likely an attempt at diplomacy more than any actual sign of friendship, but still jarring given the bollocking Malcolm had just given Phil.
- In The Missing DOSAC Files, Malcolm emails Peter asking about dirt from his "sordid past," to which Peter cheerfully replies. Ollie (who's been cc'd) is baffled by the exchange.
- Grumpy Old Man
- Hopeless With Tech: "What's the difference between upload and download?"
- That said, he does understand how useful modern technology is- hence his breakdown over Stewart frivilously suggesting that the government should do away with computers.
- Hypocritical Humor: The speech quoted above; he's complaining that everyone treats him like he's stuck in the past, but his examples—knowing how to program a VCR or convert decimal currency into 'old' money—are themselves not particularly relevant at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
- Jade Coloured Glasses: One gets the feeling that Peter has long since lost almost all enthusiasm for his job / career / life long ago.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In a way; he's cynical, sarcastic and world-weary, but he also one of the few truly decent, sympathetic and principled main characters in the series.
- Never Live It Down: In-universe; he had an affair with a housemaid that produced a son twelve years ago. No one will ever let him forget about it.
- Only Sane Man
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Of a sort; he's one of the more sympathetic characters in the series but, as the quote above suggests, it seems that a lot of his attitudes, if not actually racist, homophobic, etc., can at the very least be described as outdated.
- Screw The Election, I Have Rules: "If I have to wade all this shit to win the election, then I'm happy to lose it!" Stewart regards this as ridiculously Honour Before Reason.
- Repeated in Series 4, where he is disgusted enough about the illegal leaking of the medical records of a prominent anti-government policy protester, recently deceased, to leak it to the press.
- Your Cheating Heart
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Kenneth Clarke, Tim Yeo (the love child). His appearance and way of speaking are also uncannily like Chris Patten.
Emma Messinger, aide to Peter Mannion
Olly Reeder's girlfriend and also his counterpart in the Opposition. Like Olly, she abuses their relationship to gather information on the opposing party's plans. She lives in a flat with fellow advisor Phil, but can't stand him.
- Deadpan Snarker: "I'm having an affair with Richard Bacon, I'm turned on by men with meat in their surnames."
- Dating Catwoman: She shares the same job role and rank as boyfriend Olly, but in the Opposition party.
- Blonde Conservative Sex Kitten
- Girl Friday: For Peter.
- Ice Queen: Emma starts off all lovey-dovey with Olly, but over the course of the series ruthlessly steals his ideas and coldly kicks him to the kerb on a number of occasions. She also treats Phil, Glenn and Terri with utter contempt and hatred in almost every interaction with them.
- Never My Fault: Blames everything that goes wrong on Phil, even when it was at least partially her idea. This finally backfires on her in the Goolding Inquiry, when she blames Phil and Adam for the insensitive comments made about Mr. Tickel, only to have her own (very insulting) exact words on the matter read out in public.
- Took A Level In Competence: In Season 4 she has advanced from her place as Peter's sidekick (at a similar level to Phil) to a position where, regardless of what her job title is in theory, in practice she is able to bark orders at Peter without being called out for it and she is treated as Stewart's equal (or possibly superior, since she has a constant hotline directly to the PM, which Stewart doesn't have).
Phil Smith, aide to Peter Mannion
"It's a dark suit and it's only lukewarm, I STILL WIN!"
Emma's flatmate and Olly's worst enemy, he is Glenn's counterpart in the Opposition despite being considerably younger. He is childish and immature, constantly sucks up to Peter Mannion and can't talk without using Lord of the Rings
metaphors. Often draws unflattering comparisons to Rupert Brooke and James May due to his outdated hairstyle.
- Asexuality: Phil more or less admits he is asexual in S04E05.
- Butt Monkey: As of Series 4, everyone treats him with total contempt, possibly because Emma is no longer there all the time to draw attention away from just how spectacularly incompetent he really is. He remains so obnoxious and arrogant, however, that it's hard to feel sorry for him.
- Cloud Cuckoolander
- Heroic BSOD: After dealing with Stewart's overly-saccharine mode of negotiations for most of his career, Phil was not prepared for a bollocking from Malcolm; in fact, - in a deleted scene - Phil admits to being so frightened, he left the building in a daze and didn't stop wandering until he reached Greenwich.
- Hero-Worshipper: To Peter Mannion.
- Man Child: His childlike personality has been mentioned quite a few times. Glenn describes him as an eight year old trapped in a twelve year old's body.
- Neat Freak: "There's no happiness without order. It's a Nazi quote, but none the less stands the test of time."
- Professional Butt-Kisser
- Proud to Be a Geek
- Undying Loyalty: If Phil has any redeeming feature it's his devotion to Peter. He even says during the Tickel fiasco that Mannion will resign "over his dead body."
"You can see why people don't vote!"
Emma's little brother, he lives with Emma and Phil. His involvement in politics seems to extend to fucking off, darling, when Emma needs to discuss something with Olly in private.
Cal "The Fucker" Richards
"Fuck, what I REALLY need to do, is shoot you all in the back of the head. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! But I can't, because it's illegal!"
Brought in as a PR advisor ahead of the general election. He is an aggressive and psychotic bully with a very cruel sense of humour.
A senior cabinet minister, Mary has the direct ear of the Prime Minister.
The Junior Coalition Party (Series 4)
A smaller party that is in coalition with the party in government as of series 4. There is something of a fraught relationship between the two parties. Comparable to the Liberal Democrats.
Junior Minister and member of the junior coalition party at DoSAC. He detests Peter Mannion, who he thinks is absurdly old-fashioned.
- Girly Run: As seen in S04E03, when dashing about in a panic.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: In S04E01 in a Establishing Character Moment, Fergus completely loses his temper at Terri for something fairly mild. Though it was frustrating and she was deliberately being unhelpful, his response was rather disproportionate. At several points throughout Series 4, Adam is gesturing at him to calm down.
- Handshake Substitute: Adam and Fergus regularly brofist hand bump. (Which looks ridiculous on people of their age.)
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander.
- No Indoor Voice: Fergus tends to get compulsively shouty in a crisis.
- Those Two Guys: Along with Adam.
- The Starscream: To Peter.
- Workaholic: Peter hates that Fergus spends more time at the office than him, making him seem like a slacker.
"It's not like we're the Independent, we can't just stick a headline saying 'CRUELTY' and then stick a picture of a dolphin or a whale underneath."
The night editor at the Daily Mail
in the Specials, Kenyon was Angela Heaney's irritable and bad-tempered boss. One of Malcolm's favoured targets during late-night political scheming, Keynon plays a large role in what is made public about the events of Spinners and Losers
. By Series 4, he is a Special Advisor to Fergus Williams.
- The Dragon: To Fergus, although they act like those two bad guys.
- Face Doodling: Does this to Claire Ballentyne's experimental front-page photo in a moment of stress.
- Forgets to Eat: Angela tells him to eat something in Spinners and Losers because "your blood sugar's low, it makes you very irritable."
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Particularly where Olly or Phil are concerned.
- Handshake Substitute: Adam and Fergus regularly brofist hand bump. (Which looks ridiculous on people of their age.)
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fergus. It is stated on the website that Fergus and Adam frequently play squash together, besides which they actually do get along... in comparison to many of the other characters' relationships with each other.
- Jerk Ass: In a world populated by Malcolm Tucker, Jamie Macdonald, Steve Fleming, Dan Miller and even Ollie Reeder, Glenn still gives Adam the title of the most loathsome person he has ever met.
- Jerk Jock: Adam complains Phil acts like a child, but he acts like an obnoxious cool kid to both Phil and Emma.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Despite being no less confrontational than usual, Adam does occasionally have a piece of sage advice- the most notable example occuring in the depths of the Tickell crisis, in which Adam points out that they have to release a statement to the public before things get any worse, otherwise media speculation will make it impossible to respond.
- Just One Little Mistake: Late in the final season, he and Fergus decide to sabotage Peter and the others by having Glenn leak the records of everything bad that was said about Mr. Tickell at DoSAC. The only problem being that Adam forgot to redact the document before he sent it to Glenn: it turns out quite a lot of the abuse showered on Tickell came from Adam and Fergus!
- Those Two Guys: Along with Fergus.
- Silver Fox: Given that Adam says he entered politics for "the pussy", he presumably works it.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: As of Series 4, he seems to be Phil's new worst enemy.
- The Starscream: Along with Fergus, to Peter.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Declares one on Olly over the phone.
- Sanity Slippage: Starting off rather hopeful for the night, Kenyon spends most of Spinners and Losers getting more and more frustrated with Olly's conflicting reports, culminating in an explosive rant after Ballentyne is ditched almost as soon as she's selected. By dawn, Adam is looking particularly broken, and looks downright despairing when he realises that the next candidate is a complete unknown (Ben Swain); finally, he calls Olly personally to declare him the target of a furious vendetta.
- Tranquil Fury: Especially when compared to Fergus who explodes once his limit is reached. Adam tends towards the Angrish and threats when his temper is lost and even at his most hysterical does not raise his voice terribly high.
Fergus: "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!"
Adam: (visibly restraining Fergus) "Right, Fergus. (to the room) What the fuck is going on?"
The Party initially considered Angela a rather soft and compliant journalist who could be relied on for a nice sympathetic story. This was in no small way helped by the fact that she was Olly Reader's ex. "The twatbubble from the Standard
" then got a job at the Daily Mail
and became somewhat less compliant.
"It was a public conversation..."
A freelancer at the Daily Mail
and the Guardian
. Marianne first got drawn into the affairs of DoSAC when she overheard Nicola Murray discussing immigration with an off-the-record Guardian
journalist. Malcolm later called on her in a desperate attempt to save his career.
"...so you're not currying
editor in series three, he first appears at the disastrous lunch meeting where Nicola Murray fails to convince him that she is neither smug nor glum. Later he finds himself among the journalists Malcolm tries to enlist to help preserve his reputation and career.