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)
Throughout the bulk of the series (Series 1-3 and the specials), these characters are either members of the governing party (whether politicians or advisors) or civil servants in the government departments run by them. By Series 4, however, the mighty have now fallen, and the party members 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.
- Invisible President: He goes unseen throughout the series.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: We don't know very much about him compared to the other Invisible Prime Ministers of the show, but what little we do learn suggests certain similarities to Tony Blair.
Tom Davis (Series 3)By series three the original Prime Minister had resigned and been replaced by a new Party Leader, now with a name but still unseen.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".
- Invisible President: As with his predecessor, we never see him.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Gordon Brown and his supporters, the Brownites.
Malcolm Tucker, Leader of the Opposition's Director of Communications (previously the Prime Minister's Director of Communications)
Functional maniac, spin doctor, and 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'être to get them back in...
- Anti-Hero: A cynical Pragmatic Hero at his best, and a vicious Unscrupulous Hero at his worst. As the antagonist, he is much worse.
- Anti-Villain: Well-Intentioned Extremist See Knight Templar below.
- Badass in Charge: Commands authority and is a very intimidating British comedy character who knows how to get shit done.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: The suits were bad in the early series, but by series four he's in Armani and looking very sharp indeed.
- Badass Longcoat
- The Bully: Don't ever call him one though. He is so much worse than that.
- The Chessmaster
- Cluster F-Bomb: His first specialty is loading his sentences with "fucks".
- Country Matters: Another of his specialities is the "cunt"; it's part of Tucker's Law.
- 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: He is fiercely loyal to his party and will do everything in his power to keep it in power.
- 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. Malcolm did more to help Tickel than anyone else in Government or Opposition, albeit for cynical reasons. The Government were the ones who sold off Tickel's home and then added insult to injury by kicking him out of his protest tent. Nicola was trying to cover her own arse after supporting the selloff, so despite Malcolm's advice the Opposition weren't taking up Tickel's cause either. Sure, leaking Tickel's medical records was insensitive on Malcolm's part. But he did it to show that the Government were, as he put it, "picking on a man with a history of depression"... which was true and turned out to have tragic consequences. Malcolm ultimately took all the blame for Tickel's death, but it might have been avoided if anyone had listened to him early on.
- At one point Malcolm is accused of being homophobic. He responds by saying how he worked to help repeal anti-gay legislation while the accuser was still a schoolboy.
- While his temper is not the calmest, even he seems taken aback by some of Jamie's outbursts and tantrums.
- Faux Affably Evil: Or faux affably anti-heroic depending on how vicious he is in the moment, but very few characters are immune to his charms before he sucker punches them with an angry tirade of their incompetence.
- 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: He is exceedingly fond of unnerving male politicos via flirting and double entendres.
- Girly Run
- 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.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: A roaring freight train of anger waiting to go off. Given the incompetence of the people he's trying to prop up in power, can you blame him?
- 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 and he does smack Glenn in the nose.
- 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. Also seen in 'The Missing DOSAC Files' during the transcript of his voicemail to Cal Richards, when he tears up at the prospect of a little girl's rabbit being named after him, as well as the picture the girl drew of him and Cal having a picnic.
- 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." Or Kick the Son of a Bitch given Nicola's public school hypocrisy.
- 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: As he himself admits during one of his most poignant speeches.This job has taken me in every hole in my fucking body. Malcolm is gone, you can't know Malcolm, because Malcolm is not here! Malcolm fucking left the building fucking years ago! This is a fucking husk. I am a fucking host for this fucking job.
- 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. He's also consistently polite, friendly and warm to his own assistant Sam.
- 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.
- Papa Wolf: For his party, and to Sam, to some extent.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Quick to make references to The Beatles, The Crying Game,The Flintstones and more during his tirades. This makes his total ignorance and unsuccessful attempts at explaining the plot of Star Wars of all things all the more hilarious.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Calmer out of politics. Roaring freight train Jerk Jock Magnificent Bastard when at work.
- Real Men Wear Pink: "DON'T TOUCH THAT SCARF! THAT'S PAUL SMITH" Also a keen chef with an eye to interior design.
- "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.
- Self-Made Man: Heavily implied. His nickname "The Gorbals Goebbels" indicates that he grew up in a very rough area of Glasgow.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: All the time and to everyone there is an awful lot of swearing. One person asked "can you stop swearing?" He sarcastically apologized with more swearing.
- 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.
- 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: Rather, an Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain Breakdown; some stonking cases, often with bonus This Is Your Brain on Evil and Don't You Dare Pity Me!.
- Villainous Widow's Peak
- Violent Glaswegian
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He genuinely believes in the party manifesto and will fight to the death for it.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Glenn isn't, strictly speaking, a woman.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: His second specialty.
Samantha "Sam" Cassidy
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.
- All There in the Manual: Her full name is only given in The Missing DoSaC Files.
- Death Glare: Though she never speaks during the Goolding Inquiry, she delivers a couple of these to Terri and Ollie when they are the only ones to explicitly implicate Malcolm as the source of the leak.
- Girl Friday
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Enough so to keep up with Malcolm.
- Morality Pet: To Malcolm; she seems to be the only person he genuinely cares about.
- Pet the Dog: Malcolm running into his office in the midst of his sacking to scream at everyone for making Sam cry.
- Satellite Character: Absolutely nothing is known about her in the show, outside of her working for Malcolm. In The Missing DoSAC Files, we learn that she knows how to forge Malcolm's signature and is a fan of U2.
- So Proud of You: Her character photo shows the smile she wears after Malcolm's Rousing Speech at the end of season 3.
- Spot of Tea: Malcolm occasionally asks her to bring him one of these. Sometimes he doesn't even have to ask.
Jamie MacDonald, Senior Press Officer, Number 10
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 thereafter. 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.
- Ax-Crazy: While Malcolm's tantrums frequently threaten creative acts of violence, Jamie constantly seems on the verge of exploding into actual acts of violence.
- 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.
- In the Loop clearly demonstrates that he has a chip on his shoulder about class, and reacts poorly even to perceived upper class pretensions no matter how much they're just in his head. For example, his sneering about "fuckin' Oxbridge pleasantries" when meeting Toby (Toby had said nothing but "Hello") and his yelling about Michael Rodger's fondness for listening to opera in his office.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome/Put on a Bus: He isn't seen or mentioned again after the specials.
- The Bus Came Back: Sort of. He is, however, featured in the post-Series-3 tie-in material.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Just like his boss.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon
- The Dragon: To Malcolm.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Unlike Malcolm, who's outbursts of rage are generally more focussed and prompted more by the idiocy and incompetence of those he's surrounded by, Jamie just seems to have a violent, out-of-control temper ready to explode at the slightest hint of even a hypothetical provocation.
- Informed Attribute: His lack of height. Paul Higgins is 5'10" - average height, thus not exactly short. However, compared to Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Will Smith, and several of the other actors (all over six feet) he does look rather diminutive.
- 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.
- Men Are Uncultured
- Must Have Nicotine: A heavy smoker.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: He explicitly disclaims independent thought in Rise of the Nutters.Jamie: You are going Nutter mate!Malcolm: And you've never thought fucking about that, have you?Jamie: No, I never have, because that's how they get you, fuck that thinking, oh, logic, reason, talking!
- The Napoleon: What he lacks in height, he makes up for in aggressiveness.
- 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 Celebrities Were Harmed: Damian McBride and Charlie Whelan, two ex-trade unionists who were part of Number 10's spin machine during the Blair era.
- 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.
- Violent Glaswegian: Well, a violent guy from Motherwell, but close enough.
- Working-Class Hero: And has a chip on his shoulder about class.
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 Ollie have already explained above.
This department was run by the following characters in Series 1-3:
Cliff Lawton MP
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: His establishing moment is his dismissal from the department.
- Decoy Protagonist: Is Minister for the department that this series follows... for all of five minutes.
- 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.
- It's All About Me: The speech he drafts for his aborted leadership campaign launch focuses entirely on how Malcolm, and by extension the party, screwed him over. Jamie and Robyn both advise against this.
- 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)
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.
- Bad Liar: Just look at his character quote.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Usually puts on a facade of good manners and occasionally tries to appear far nicer than he actually is. As soon as things begin to go wrong though, he drops the act entirely and will happily betray anyone in order to make himself look good.
- 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.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even ''Hugh'' finds Ollie's comments about special needs children distasteful given Glenn's son has special needs.Hugh Abbott: You just took a shit with your clothes on, Ollie Glenn's boy, Peter, he went to a special needs school.
- It doesn't stop him from throwing Glenn under the bus (and quite possibly poisoning his relationship with his son in the process) at the end of the episode by claiming Glenn was the one who convinced him to kill the program, though. It ends their friendship.
- 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 Minister's wife.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: You can tell he's loss all enthusiasm with his job. "I work, I eat, I shower. Occasionally, i'll take a dump, just as a sort of treat".
- Kick the Dog: After succesfully throwing Glenn under the bus during the "Your Own Mothers Piss" fiasco, he immediatly calls up Ollie to gloat about watching his "friend" suffer due to his own actions.
- 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 also says he will stand by her regardless of what "she" did. Terri rightly calls him out immediately.
- Nice to the Waiter: Averted. When he's held up by some security guards in his final episode, he snidely tells them that he's the whole reason their working there.
- 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" fiascos with a borderline-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: Lacks emotions other than perhaps fear and cynical snarking.
- With Friends Like These...: His relationship with Glenn. Just because he's friends with him doesn't mean he won't cheerfully betray him in a bid to make himself look good. By his final appearance, his actions have destroyed the friendship between the two.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
Nicola Murray, MP (Series 3), Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
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 constantly on the verge of divorce with James, her unseen husband. Malcolm refers to her as the "Glummy Mummy."
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Often gets a blank stare, or even multiple blank stares, when attempting humour.
- The Chew Toy: All of Series 4.
- Claustrophobia: Never takes lifts.
- 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.
- The Ditherer: Probably her Fatal Flaw. Much as she might protest otherwise, at the end of the day she doesn't really stand for anything, have any particular ideas or believe in any principles, and is more interested in being liked/powerful than anything else. Consequently, she ultimately doesn't really want to rock the boat and do anything which people might view unfavourably. Her "big ideas" are all wishy-washy non-entities like the "Fourth Sector" which are composed of nothing but blandly meaningless corporate-speak buzzwords. Which is well enough, if not ideal, for the minister of a third-rate minor department that no one really pays attention to, but proves increasingly disastrous in a Leader of the Opposition.
- Drink Order: Fond of Lemon Zinger herbal tea, but she'll take a coffee if it's not available.
- Failure Hero: Her minor victories are few and far in between.
- 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!
- Parental Neglect: Believes her frequent work-related absences, as well as her husband being "never really there," are the reason for her preteen daughter acting out at school.
- Pointy-Haired Boss
- Power Hair: Her hair is considerably shorter as Leader of the Opposition.
- The Peter Principle: Both of her promotions in the series count as this:
- She's promoted to Minister of DoSAC from being a backbench MP so obscure that Malcolm doesn't even have background research on her, and quickly proves that she's a bit out of her depth from her previous role.
- However, while she at least meets a baseline of competency and capability (if not an especially high one) at DoSAC, when she's somehow elected Leader of the Opposition she's an utterly incompetent failure who gets no respect from anyone.
- 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.
- When trying to persuade Dan Miller to drop the leak inquiry after he replaces her as Leader of the Opposition, Nicola — without a shred of self-awareness — tries to frame herself as a party elder and brazenly tries to use "people like me" as a threat to get him to agree. This is after it has been repeatedly hammered home of how incompetent and unpopular she was.
- Where It All Began: Her first major order of business as Secretary of State is to travel to Leamington Spa. She mentions in a deleted scene that she grew up there.
- 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)
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.
- Big Eater: Other characters never fail to poke fun of his fondness for food and his frequent trips to the vending machines.
- Character Tics: Nervous blinking.
- Fat Idiot: Has little, if any, real knowledge to speak of.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ed "Blinky" Balls.
- The Rival: He really can't stand Nicola.
- Small Name, Big Ego: has written a book about "getting ahead in politics" titled "It's The Everything, Stupid". One wonders what on earth he would know on the subject.
- His ego swells exponentially when it looks like he's in with a (very very slim) chance of becoming the next Prime Minister.
- Used against him in Malcolm's scheme to oust Nicola as Opposition Leader. He's promised positions in the Shadow Cabinet he's ridiculously unqualified for in exchange for resignation (Foreign Secretary, Chancellor), only to be implicated in the same scandal as Nicola and forced on the backbench.
- Spanner in the Works
- Smug Snake: Despite being disliked by everyone, he has a rather high opinion of himself.
Glenn Cullen, DoSAC Senior Policy Adviser
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: Taken to extremes in season 4, where everyone at DOSAC actively avoids him and he has next to no work to do.
- Butt-Monkey: The butt of jokes in whichever office he ends up in.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dogged Nice Guy: To Robyn.
- The Eeyore: He is perpetually depressed, due to a combination of failed personal and professional lives.
- 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.Glenn: "TICK-ELL! 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 Ollie 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 Ollie in the first three series and two specials.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Also with Ollie.
- You Need to Get Laid: The frequent butt of sex- and impotency-related jokes.
Oliver Francis "Ollie" Reeder, DoSAC Policy Adviser (Series 1-3), Special Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
Ollie 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 only to rev up in series 4.
His personal life occasionally furthers his career - e.g. when he dates journalist Angela Heaney and, later, Emma Messinger, a policy adviser to DoSAC shadow minister Peter Mannion MP.
- Ambiguously Bi: In the show he's only seen with women (and is unexpectedly successful on that front), but Hugh and Glenn speculate about his closeness with Dan Miller.
- Ambition Is Evil: He's incredibly ruthless in his climb up the career ladder.
- Bastard Understudy: To Malcolm, in series 4.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He is willing to further his political career by throwing others under the bus.
- 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: He can occasionally hold his own against Malcolm.
- Deuteragonist: After Malcolm, he gets the most consistent focus throughout the series.
- The Dragon: Becomes Malcolm's right-hand man in Season Four.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even for someone prone to as many Dude, Not Funny! moments as Ollie, he still looks utterly shocked and appalled during Steve Fleming's infamous New Era Speech where he compares the department to the victims of Josef Fritzl.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Definitely, whether it's making jokes about Glenn's son with special needs, or joking about Malcolm punching Glenn, you can always count on Ollie to say a hurtful or downright immature thing.
- Faux Affably Evil: A massive Jerkass underneath. Ollie can appear quite charming and good-natured - but he'll have no trouble cheerfully betraying you in a bid for power.
- FaceHeel Turn: In Season Four, culminating in how he helps destroy Nicola's career, betrays his friend Glenn, and betrays Malcolm by leaking news of his arrest to the media. Although given that Ollie was always a bit of a duplicitious, sleazy jerk, the shift from "Face" to "Heel" isn't incredibly far.
- Kavorka Man: Olly looks about 12, is wafer thin, has a bad haircut and an incredibly corny sense of humour, but he still manages to bang hotties Angela Heaney and Emma Messinger, and is depicted as somewhat of a womanizer.
- Manipulative Bastard: Season 4 shows that Malcolm - and the viewers - may have been underestimating his cunning.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He looks near tears after helping dethrone Nicola from her leadership position in the party.
- Older Than They Look: Chris Addison. Ollie is meant to be in his early 20s and looks no older than 22. Chris Addison turned 40(!) in 2011.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In The Missing DoSAC Files, everyone responds to Malcolm's request for the titular files with derision and sarcastic comments... except for Ollie. Malcolm, naturally, ignores the rest of the chatter and zeros right in on this, sending Ollie an email noting how interesting it is that Ollie has been very quiet throughout the whole exchange and informing him that he's popping around for a little chat. Ollie breaks and confesses to being the one who has lost the files.
- Small Name, Big Ego: There is a vast gulf between Ollie's own opinion of his abilities and his actual abilities.
- Smug Snake: Ollie tends to come across as rather snide 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.
- Toyed with in the first episode of Series 3, where he offers that he's 'Oliver' or 'Ollie' as Nicola prefers; when she leans toward 'Oliver', he then insists on 'Ollie' anyway.
- 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.
- 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
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 (bordering on Only Sane Employee, if only because she was the only one who wanted to stick to protocol and keep their butts covered). 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 two, 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. Thus, 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Small Name, Big Ego
- 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
Another civil servant, junior to Terri. Despite her job title Robyn's main duty is making tea.
- Butt-Monkey: When asked in the Goolding Inquiry whether there's a culture of bullying at DoSAC, she responds "I think there's a culture of bullying me at DoSAC."
- The Ditz
- Dumb Blonde
- Gender-Blender Name: Hugh initially thought she was Robyn Murdoch's secretary.
- Spanner in the Works: Hugh's cunning plan to escape the factory is ruined by Robyn being too dumb for politics.
- A Spot Of Tea: What her job revolves around in practice.
- Ultimate Job Security: Thanks to Glenn.
Helen Hatley, Policy Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
A young, idealistic junior policy advisor, who has not yet learned not to get smart to Malcolm.
- Alliterative Name
- 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.)
- Naïve Newcomer: Particularly compared to Ollie. However, she is a lot more competent than Ollie was at the start of his tenure, and sees right through Malcolm and Ollie'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
Nick Hanway, Enforcer to Tom Davis
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 sure...
- "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.
- Affably Evil: Polite and plays golf, he's also a leaker and a schemer.
- Ambiguously Gay
- Big Eater: If he's not eating food, he's usually using food as an analogy, much to Malcolm's annoyance."I will not eat the pissy biscuit!"
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander
- Commonality Connection: At the end of "Rise of the Nutters", he and Malcolm very briefly suspend their mutual animosity to swap commiserations over the fact that neither of them turned out to be in the loop concerning the real date of the Prime Minister's resignation (although in Malcolm's case it seems to be mainly because Nicholson is sitting stunned in his office without any apparent intention of leaving).
- Kicked Upstairs
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: John Birt, Peter Mandelson, Andrew Adonis.
- Pastimes Prove Personality: Nicholson enjoys listening to the cricket; quite apart from the fact that he fits the "posh eccentric" character type to a T, Malcolm—who finds cricket stultifyingly boring—clearly believes that it suits him.
- Precision F-Strike: Pretty much alone among the cast in that he seldom swears. The exceptions are when he's quoting his nephew and when Malcolm or Jamie are physically attacking him.
- Prematurely Bald: The other characters quite like reminding him about this.
- Smug Snake
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
- Stoic Spectacles
- Younger Than They Look: Julius is (via Word of God) meant to be in his mid-50s. Alex Mc Queen is actually younger than Chris Addison (who's playing someone in his early twenties.) The "shiny bald head" helps.
- Wicked Cultured: Apparently, Nicholson's means of coping with all-nighters involve black coffee and "Vivaldi on the iPod touch."
Steve Fleming MP
- "Would you PLEASE fucking well...sorry. I lost my temper. Where is it? Where is it? Where is it? Oh, I've found it again, it's all right!
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.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A passive-aggressive creep.
- Faux Affably Evil: He tries SO hard to be genuinely affable, sugar-coating everything, covering up his anger with laughter, avoiding swearing and smiling constantly...but the effect is more that of a man permanently in the middle of a bad Villainous Breakdown.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Lampshaded by the quote above and unlike Malcolm, has poor control and is easily triggered which means he does a poor job at projecting an Affably Evil facade.
- Laughing Mad: He inevitably attempts to cover up his Hair-Trigger Temper and outbursts of anger with what he thinks is good-natured chuckling, but it's always rather forced and the effect is just to make him look rather unstable instead.
- New Era Speech: Which only serves to give everyone who's listening to it the creeps, mainly because during it he compares everyone in the department to the victims of Josef Fritzl.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Peter Mandelson.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: "Will you please FUCKING well—!?".
- Smug Snake: Not as good a schemer as Malcolm and stupidly falls victim to the Just Between You and Me form of the need to gloat.
- Stepford Smiler: A psycho behind the smile.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Arrives on the scene with revenge in mind.
- Unwitting Pawn
- Villainous Breakdown: As noted above, constantly seems to be in one of these. Taken Up to Eleven when Malcolm successfully out gambits him.
Dan Miller MP, Junior Minister (Series 1), Leader of the Opposition (Series 4)
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.
- The Ace: All characters - Malcolm included - note his exceptional political skills.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- Over the course of the final series with each fairly innocuous appearance he becomes more powerful until eventually he gets rid of Malcolm.
- In the first series, talking to Dan, Hugh jokes that if he'd resigned the day he'd been appointed he'd be Prime Minister now. When Hugh later decides to resign, he finds Dan has beaten him to it.
- Drunk with Power: A subtle example; upon finally achieving leadership, he starts comparing himself favourably to Jesus Christ:Dan Miller: [Entering to applause] Please, please, I'm not Christ. He was quite a scruffy man.
- The Fighting Narcissist: A non-physical fighting variety."I like getting on my high horse. I look good on it. Like a knight."
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: David Miliband.
- Puppet King: Ambiguous. When he finally succeeds in becoming the party leader, he's seen as little more than a puppet for Malcolm. He seems to have his own agenda, though: he's shown chessmaster skills of his own, from early on, and the other party members fear him.
- Ultimately averted, as he manages to get rid of Malcolm permanently at the end of the series, leaving him free to lead the party however he likes.
- The Star Scream: One of his first acts after becoming the party leader is to get rid of Malcolm, who orchestrated his rise to power in the first place.
- Strawman Political: He's basically the stereotypical modern British Sleazy Politician — young, blandly handsome and charming/smarmy enough to be seen as an up-and-comer, but vaguely sociopathic, artificial and someone with no real ideals or convictions beyond climbing the slippery ladder no matter who he has to knife in the back in order to do so.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky
- The Dreaded:
- As of the final season, the government had only one planned response in the event that Dan Miller took control of the opposition, summed up by Peter Mannion as "We're fucked."
- Much of the flapping about in the specials was also prompted out of dread that he might challenge Tom Davis for the party leadership.
Claire Ballentyne MP
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.
- The Gambling Addict: The reason she ultimately doesn't end up running for party leader.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Gwyneth Dunwoody, Diane Abbott.
Geoff Holhurst MP
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.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
- Butt-Monkey: Every single appearance he makes involves him being bollocked, insulted or humiliated and virtually nothing else; even during an episode where he only appears in a slideshow by the opposition, he's still characterized as "a shepard dressed up to meet the queen."
- Informed Deformity: His famously tiny head.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Geoff Hoon.
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.
- O.O.C. 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. They are mostly unseen up until the first special, but start to appear more often in Series 3 and finally form a coalition government in Series 4. 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.
- Invisible President
- Only Known by Their Nickname
- Politically Incorrect Villain: According to Peter Mannion, he's prone to racist remarks and jokes- though Stewart tries to excuse this by calling it "ironizing."
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: David "Call Me Dave" Cameron
Stewart Pearson, Opposition Director of Communications (The Specials, series 3), now the Prime Minister's Director of Communications
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).
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: As many people throughout the series note, his speeches would be much better understood if they came with subtitles.
- Friendly Enemy: Shows hints of this in the aftermath of the BBC radio scandal.Malcolm Tucker: "Carry on like this and I might not find you utterly fucking contemptible."Stewart Pearson: "That's an incentive."
- Granola Girl: A rare male example who isn't also an ageing hippy.
- Hypocrite: During the "Yes and Ho" game, he insists that none of the imaginary policies should be blocked or derided; however, when it comes time for Peter to make a suggestion, he immediately starts insulting it. And then, when he suggests that they "do away with computers" and Peter immediately points out in no uncertain terms what a stupid idea this is, he simpers "No blocking, Peter. Merely counterpointing."
- Ice-Cream Koan: One of the things Peter hates most about him is his tendency to spout meaningless PR buzzwords and "motivational" slogans. Even simple things like "I wanted to talk to you" get rendered as "I just wanted to take a few trips with you on the ideas carousel." Prompting an exasperated Fergus, in one episode, to shout "Subtitles! You need subtitles!"
- The Goolding Inquiry reveals he literally can't talk in plain English.
- Kick the Dog: Goes out of his way to humiliate a hotel employee in front of a crowded room after she interrupts his thought camp, for no reason other than to vent his own frustrations.
- Nice to the Waiter: Inverted. At the Thought Camp, after he gets "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Peter, a hotel employee comes in to inform them that there's an emergency phone call. While it's likely due in part due to the fact that he's smarting from the tongue-lashing he's just received from Peter, Stewart is still noticeably snide and condescending towards her. He also gets a bit chippy with the desk receptionist when trying to get his phone back.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Steve Hilton.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: His competence deteriorates now his party in power and he actually has to think of silly things like budget and practicality. Brutally lampshaded by Peter during the "Yes and Ho" exercise:Peter: Let's do away with you.
Peter: Filter's off, daddy-o, let it all hang out. Just suppose your free-range no-consequence bullshit was hugely entertaining when we were in opposition and shitting money, but now we're in government and it's all gone a bit J.G. Ballard it's irrelevant and infantile! Oh, and maybe the reason you don't mind handing your phone in is that it doesn't ring as much as it used to. Oh, sorry; doesn't ring as much as it used to, yes and ho.
- Precision F-Strike: Isn't much given to swearing (compared to the rest of the cast), but his final speech upon being sacked includes a very well placed swear word at the end.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Unable to speak in anything but fancy words and odd metaphors.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Has become quite a nasty and condescending piece of work as of the fourth series.
- Villainous Breakdown/Villainous BSoD: Suffers a few nasty cases in Series 4 as calamities start to stack up:
- In the first episode, the "Silicon Playgrounds" program is scrapped by the Prime Minister before it can even get off the ground, thanks to Stewart misdelegating who would explain it to the public; worse still, the PM doesn't even tell Stewart this personally—he delegates it to an underling. Stewart can only wander off in a traumatized daze to supposedly "rest his eyes on the river," not even getting angry when Phil forgets to take the teabag out of his mug.
- Episode three gives him a worse day than usual: his "Thought Camp" is disrupted, he gets caught unawares by the Tickell catastrophe, he discovers that Fergus and Adam ended up wasting two billion in taxes on a community bank... and then emerges that he was photographed standing on a children's slippery-dip with Peter whilst trying to get a phone signal. Stewart's only response is to let out a primal scream, hurl Phil's blackberry at the nearest wall, stagger over to the end of the corridor and collapse in a heap.
- The monumental leaking debacle and the incoming inquiry in episode five sends Stewart into by far his most explosive rant ever, complete with hysterical hand-waving, impossible threats, and a lot of finger-pointing."In the time it has taken for Terri to extract herself from a bluetooth, this little inquiry has fused! It is now growing faster than the speed of bloody light! It's not going to be something we can see from space, it's going to be space! Brian Cox is going to phone me AND ASK FOR THE FILM RIGHTS!!!"
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Beneath the buzzwords and self-righteousness, Stewart is genuinely a social liberal who believes in gender equality, environmentalism and inclusiveness. He really does want to modernise the party and make it kinder and less regressive. Unfortunately he seems to underestimate the size of the task, praising the unseen Premier as "genuinely progressive" despite other characters hinting he is anything but. It's likely he is being manipulated by his employers, who say they want to make the party less conservative, but are actually just indulging in a public relations exercise to seem less conservative. Whatever the case, long before his extremely bitter final speech though, he realizes it's a lost cause.
Peter Mannion MP, Shadow Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship (The Specials, series 3), now Minister for Social Affairs and Citizenship (Series 4)
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 Yes and Ho.
- 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.
- He does have the satisfaction of seeing Stewart removed from office, but given that his own career also hangs by a thread due to his being stained by the same scandals that bought down Stewart, it's a pyrrhic victory for him.
- 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: He responds to most events and crises in his life with dry, withering sarcasm.
- Dirty Coward: In the specials. Unlike most characters, he's gotten better by series 3.
- The Eeyore: Apparently, even his voice is "depressing tonally".
- Everyone Has Standards: Refuses point blank to use Nicola's personal life against her — at least until Malcolm persuades Nicola that Peter's personal life is fair game, at which point he performs a HeelFace Turn.
- 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: He doesn't exactly possess a sunny personality to begin with, but between being an old-school Tory in a media-conscious Thatcherite party, being disrespected and patronised on a constant basis and having to put up with Stewart's bullshit, Peter doesn't exactly have many reasons for good cheer.
- Hopeless with Tech: "What's the difference between upload and download?"'note
- 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. Except... (see below)
- 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.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Kenneth Clarke, Tim Yeo (the love child). His appearance and way of speaking are also uncannily like Chris Patten.
- Only Sane Man: At the very least, he has a lower tolerance for bullshit than most of the cast.
- 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. He doesn't seem to have any outright bias against people of colour or the queer community, but he is often very thoughtless (e.g. saying an Anglo-Saxon student's name is "easier to pronounce" than a British Asian one, or complimenting gay people for being "very well turned out")
- 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 a ridiculous case of 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.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He loathes Stewart with the white-hot intensity of a thousand burning supernovas, and the feeling is very much mutual.
- Your Cheating Heart: In his backstory; he had an affair with a housemaid back in the 1980s which produced a love-child. Naturally, no one ever lets him forget it.
Emma Messinger, aide to Peter Mannion
Ollie Reeder's girlfriend and also his counterpart in the Opposition. Like Ollie, 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.
- Blonde Conservative Sex Kitten: Very much her characterization.
- Deadpan Snarker: "I'm having an affair with Richard Bacon. I'm incredibly aroused by men with meat in their surnames."
- Dating Catwoman: She shares the same job role and rank as boyfriend Ollie, but in the Opposition party.
- Establishing Character Moment: She spends much of her first episode being quite lovely-dovey with her boyfriend Ollie. And then comes the moment when she ruthlessly steals his idea and pitches it to her own boss behind his back. And when they go for it, since it's inevitable that Ollie will find out about it she initially tries to weasel out of the blame by claiming Phil was the one who did it.
- Girl Friday: For Peter.
- Jerkass: Just look at the rest of this section.
- Ice Queen: Emma starts off all lovey-dovey with Ollie, 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. Tickell, 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).
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Phil; the two have a hate-filled relationship and each would throw the other under the bus, but they do occasionally engage in friendly banter — and they've managed to successfully share a flat for quite some time without killing each other.
Phil Smith, aide to Peter Mannion
Emma's flatmate and Ollie'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. He often suffers from unflattering comparisons to Rupert Brooke and James May due to his outdated hairstyle.
- Asexuality: Maybe. During the Goolding enquiry, he says he doesn't enjoy sex, but whether this is because he's truly asexual or just burnt out from his job is left ambiguous.
- 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
- Geek Physiques: Glenn describes him as an 8-year-old in a 12-year-old's body.
- 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 - after Malcolm is through with him, he looks like he's just soiled himself. 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. (For those not familiar with London, it's about six miles (ten km) from Whitehall to Greenwich.)
- Hero-Worshipper: To Peter Mannion.
- Manchild: His childlike personality has been mentioned quite a few times.
- 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: One of his key traits is his sycopanthic behavior towards Peter.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Despite the derision his hobbies receive from everyone.
- 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."
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Emma; the two have a hate-filled relationship and each would throw the other under the bus, but they do occasionally engage in friendly banter — and they've managed to successfully share a flat for quite some time without killing each other.
- "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 Ollie in private.
- Funny Background Event: His purpose in the show, really.
Cal "The Fucker" Richards
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.
- Ax-Crazy: Looks very disappointed when he reflects about how it would be illegal to shoot everyone in the back of the head.
- The Dreaded: The mere mention of his name brings about an atmosphere of panic.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Telling Stewart he's fired then laughing it off.
- Evil Counterpart: To Malcolm of all people.
- Jerkass:Possibly the biggest jerk on the entire show.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Let's just say he didn't get his nickname out of the blue.
- The Napoleon: Short of both stature and temper.
- No Indoor Voice: Prone to SHOUTING when angry, which is almost all the time.
- Shrouded in Myth: "The Fucker, he comin', he comin' to your town..."
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Andy Coulson, Richard Littlejohn in the tie-in book.
A senior cabinet minister, Mary has the direct ear of the Prime Minister.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When we first meet Mary, she seems like a nice, sane voice of reason. Next time around, she's not so nice.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She first appears as one of the participants in the Coalition's "Mind Camp" and is present when Peter suggests firing Stewart. Several episodes later she reappears, firing Stewart and replacing him as head of communications.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Appears briefly at Stewart's "thought camp" in S4E3.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Theresa May.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: She ousts Stewart by the end of the series. Everything suggests she's going to be much more unpleasant.
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.
- Accidental Unfortunate Gesture: Has a habit of making "imaginary tits" with his hands when speaking in public.
- 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.)
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Adam; the two of them get along surprisingly well, unlike almost everyone else on the show.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander.
- No Indoor Voice: Fergus tends to get compulsively shouty in a crisis.
- Smug Snake: He thinks he'd be better at being the Minister than Peter is. Let's just say that these beliefs outweigh his actual capabilities.
- Those Two Guys: Along with Adam.
- The Starscream: To Peter, whom he vehemently hates.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Formerly.Glenn: You, Fergus, when you asked me to join you, all you had was your principles, but over the last two years, you've bent like a human fucking palm tree, swaying to the guff of these six-toed, born-to-rule pony fuckers.
- Workaholic: Peter hates that Fergus spends more time at the office than him, making him seem like a slacker.
Introduced in the Specials as the night editor at the Daily Mail in the Specials and 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 Ollie 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.
- Jerkass: 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 occurring 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.
- 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 Ollie 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 Ollie'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 Ollie personally to declare him the target of a furious vendetta.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Fergus. Known in the office as "The Inbetweeners," "The Proclaimers," and "Bradford & Bingley."
- 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 Ollie Reader's ex. "The twatbubble from the Standard" then got a job at the Daily Mail and became somewhat less compliant.
- Give Me a Reason: Uses this line when threatening to write a very embarrassing story about DoSAC's "day of spin." This backfires when Malcolm threatens to ruin her career if she does.
- Quirky Curls
- Smug Snake: Almost every line out of her mouth is dripping with condescension.
- "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.
The Guardian 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.