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The Thick Of It -

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(generated from captions) You look like shit. I know. strong language. This programme contains less than four hours sleep a night, Margaret Thatcher used to survive on how is that possible? Monkey glands, and she was mad. contains strong language. This programme above the shop of course, And she lived so she didn't have to commute. can't we devolve some of it? I mean London is so big, I'd be able to cope. night's shut-eye in the flat If I could get just one decent stay over in the flat. Look, Hugh do yourself a favour I can't break my promise to Kate. see the children? I mean, do you actually all I do... I don't have time for that, I work, I eat, I shower - that's it. Occasionally... just as a sort of treat, I take a dump, that's what it's come to. I mean that really is my treat, I sit there and I think, read The New Statesman, "No, I'm not going to this is quality time just for me." "this time is just for me, Is that normal? It's sad. I've made something. Still, at least Secretary of State, Morning, morning, to get through. we've got quite a lot that press interview Good. I have cancelled for BBC Norfolk this afternoon. Why? the two minute silence so I... Well, it was going to clash with Yeah Hugh, not remembering the dead, Ooh, good call. about benefit fraud in King's Lynn, talking you are gonna look a bit of a dick. Could you get me a cup of coffee? when I was head of press, I told you about Waitrose, do you remember that? I know. an ordinary Sunday - It was a two minute silence - on the Tannoy about a spillage, and somebody said something a drainpipe on Monday morning. the tabloids were like rats up It's The Times, Were they? Can you just... that...? Is it about me? could you just have a quick look at a read of it first? Why don't you have This job is exciting enough artificial elements of suspense. without having to inject You're cock teasing, just tell me. Hello, Malcolm...

he hasn't yet, no. He is, isn't he? He is a prick. He is a prick. Who's a prick? Am I a prick? Yeah, rip the ball sack off... Whose ball sack? Whose ball sack? Hello, Malcolm. Whose balls, whose... piece in front of you? Have you got Simon Hewitt's I haven't quite been through it yet. he calls you out of your depth? Have you got to the bit where No, at the moment he's calling me...

"The political equivalent at a suburban Indian restaurant." "of the house wine That's not very good, is it? Hang on a second, "insipid," yeah... HE MUMBLES Christ, that's bad. Look at that. "Uninspiring." to the point of autism." Ooh, "Disconnected Hugh, don't you worry. We're going to get this tosser, the tits of Hollyoaks extras He'll be at The Sport, photoshopping

by the end of the month. No, he's gone. Can I just say...? Hello? That's great, Malcolm's backing me. Yeah? So, how do we respond to this? we don't exchange insults Right, we don't... Simon-arsepipes-titty-twat. with bloody you can come up with? Is that the best swearing we throw shit back at them. if someone throws shit at us This is a bucket of shit, we throw so much shit back at them We start a shit fight,

can't throw shit, they can't do shit. that they can't pick up shit, they well done. That's top swearing, Glenn, needs to look a bit less... agreed that the department Watch and learn. I think we're all Autistic... ..badly staffed. at this morning's policy review - So, we need to - announcement come up with some sort of new a bit more funky. Funky. that's a bit more connected,

just toss off some kind of policy, Look, I hope you're not going to journalist. just to get back at some again, So, essentially this is just us And without Terri. but in a bigger room, isn't it? meeting rooms, she'll never find us. Yeah I've block-booked 14 to get any un-interrupted work done. It's foolproof, it's the only way it all the time. Chris from Health does I'll start us off. OK, all right then,

Quite like that. Any takers? worked up a couple of months ago. There was a key worker policy I We need to find a good angle. of youths, I mean I know I am. Youths, you know, people are afraid HE GROWLS It sounds like taking the piss. Are you taking the piss? I'm joshing. It's just good-natured joshing. I am being good natured. My hand is in the air, Shut up for a minute, please. Can the two of you just shut up? Where else can we go? Pollution, the environment? Litter? Dog shit? Aiming high(!) shit. So, what you're... We aimed high and now we're at dog number of cronies... OK, I'm putting it about through a Morning, Malcolm. he did it as a favour to Cliff. ..that Hewitt's piece was bollocks, Cliff Lawton. Oh, right. Cliff being? as arse-cheeks. Are they now? Hugh's predecessor, they're as tight

we're saying, OK? Well, fuck knows, but that's what it's borderline homoerotic, It's personal, it's back-slapping, victim of a nasty media stitch-up. and you are the innocent with your ex Angela Heaney but... up with a main man media piece OK, right. Right, I'm fixing you just how clued-up you are actually. it is a perfect opportunity to show you're on the ball, Hughie Abbot, the in-touch guy,

you dig The Streets... you love VH1, Pixar, No, no, they're all great. what I'm talking about, do you? You've got absolutely no fucking idea Yeah, yeah I do. Who's the only gay in the village? I know that he's got children, Eddie Grundy. I don't know, because you know Ben at the Foreign Office. mind you a lot of them do these days What's a chav?

Ch...erm... You must know this! A chav, you must know what a chav... Hugh, what is a chav? isn't very helpful. Look just saying chav This is important stuff, Hugh. for the Prime Minister, Right, we do a weekly digest cinema, music, so on. we boil down the week's television, it's EastEnders highlights, The Zeitgeist tapes. Exactly, from all the reality shows, choice bits that kind of thing. ten second music videos,

God that's why the PM also looks so clued-up, I always thought he was genuinely quite with it. He's as bad as you, he uses phrases like "with it" as well. I'm gonna bike that over to Terri. Watch it, OK? Listen, when you talk to Angela Heaney, remember to stick the boot into Hewitt. I'm putting it about that Cliff offered him two weeks at his Tuscan villa for that piece, OK? 10-4, daddy-o. Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. This is serious. You have got 24 hours to sort out your policy on EastEnders, right? or you're for the Halal butchers. HE MIMICS THE EASTENDERS DRUMS Even he knows. Terri, two main contenders for our policy decision... Right.

Erm, we change Arts and Music policy funding, so that we give most of the money to the bad kids, give them intensive arts and music tuition, stop them turning into, you know, tomorrow's crims and offenders. And perhaps you'd like to outline your... We punish the disruptive kids by cutting them out of extra music and arts tuition - show them the carrot and the stick early on. The bad kids they get no money, and Olly, the same bad kids, they get... More money. More money. They could both play, couldn't they? They're fundamentally contradictory. Yes, yes, so which one should we go with? Why don't you go with both or neither, or come up with something else completely different? You're being quite flippant. Well, I'm not, it's not, it's not my role to have a preference, I sell the apples. If you want me to sell the apples I'll sell the apples, and if you want me to sell oranges, then I'll go and tell people that the apples, they're shit, Olly. I'll say, "Go on, check out our oranges." Which do you prefer, you know, apples or oranges? Apples. Apples. Apples. OK, thank you. Apples. Hugh, if we are going to spend tax payers' money putting violent thugs into productions of The fucking Cherry Orchard, we're gonna get crucified! Hang on a second. Terri, which was apples, I mean, was Olly apples or was Glenn apples? She's gone. Let's throw this to a focus group. Why don't we throw this to a focus group? I can run a focus group. Yeah, yeah, whatever. So, this is where you've been having these secret meetings, is it? Yeah. No. No. Well? I cannot keep abreast of all this. Can you precis some of it for me?

Yeah, sure. Well, I'll take a precis of the transcripts and a precis of the press packs, could you precis the Zeitgeist tape? Check this out. What? A tape of this morning's focus group. This is Mary, she is a focus group legend, right? Mary? Mary she's called. Everything that she's said in the last 12 months in every focus group she's been in has chimed exactly with the core vote, and she loved my Arts For Hearts And Minds policy. Did she now? Yes, she did now. Arts For Hearts And Minds? Arts For Hearts And Minds, that's what we're calling it. She said it chimed brilliantly with stay-at-home mums, like her. She's really core middle England, is she? Totally core middle England. TV: ..if children are put in a position where they've got a bit of responsibility, I think they'll rise to that challenge, I really do. Art is all about expression isn't it?

Can I get her in for a sort of one-to-one? Why not? Yeah absolutely, I can get... Precis the focus group. Make it a bit more...focussed. Everybody else basically agrees with what she says. It's a very good way to work, I like this, just cut out all the extraneous stuff, you know, just the facts, man, you know so just the protein, Atkins government. OK, I'll get her in. And in fact here they are now.

Hello. Hello. Hi, I'm Mary. This is Mary and this is Glenn Cullen. And this is Mary, our focus group star. Good to meet you. Shown you on video. Thank you, I keep getting asked back. You are one of the most, sort of, articulate of our focus groupees now. That's, yeah...not groupie, "groupees" with two "e"s. You're very kind, thanks. All right, well listen erm, just to push on... I was thinking, that if I am representative of the public at large, you know, you're going to listen to what I say... Yeah, you're every woman. "It's all in me." Yes, something like that. It's a song, Hugh. Yeah, I know. Right so, Mary, the policy that we were talking about last time... Great policy, yeah, really good. Thank you. Erm, what we were wondering about... I was thinking about it afterwards, actually, it really stayed with me, and if those extra classes - the drama and the music and the art classes - if they have them after school, then it saves the naughty children from missing out on the core curriculum. Core curriculum is important. That's important. That's a very good angle. And it would be I think a really welcome breathing space for some of the single parents like me. Yeah. Excellent. We'll have to have a name for it, I thought you could call it Play For Tomorrow. Play For Tomorrow? Yeah. Yeah, excellent. Thank you so much for coming in, and good luck with the single mother thing. Yeah, I'll see you in a bit, Glenn. And you're against it? It'll die on its arse, my grandma was mugged by some ferret-faced teenager with a neck tattoo, what are you going to do about it, teach him the bassoon? It is as my mother would have said, "Double wank and shit shifts." But do you think it's got legs, Hugh? Several. How did it play with the focus groups? She loves it. Sorry? They love it, they absolutely love it. You've got 94% approve/strongly approve rating - that's enormous. Why did you say "she"? I don't know, they call boats she. 94%, it's all there, black and white. It's difficult to argue, whatever your foul-mouthed mother said.

Yes, I can feel a stiffy in the post. Well, my guts still say no. As substantial as they are, they've been outvoted. I'll talk to Tom about green-lighting this. So that's a go, Terri? Just put the smell out, see if anybody gags on it. Just float it. OK... Problem? Can we please try and stop making policy on the hoof?

We've been on the hoof and we have been too hoofy. Have we? Well, if there could just be some sitting down involved. Yeah. Just...you know, sitting down, that's all I'm saying. Yes, got the chairs we should, we should probably use them. I think so. OK. That was it. Is that it? That's the problem, no more, that was the only thing. Good point, thanks for bringing it up. I'll go and float. OK. Face up? If you like, yep. See you, Terri. Erm, Malcolm, I know you were very keen on Terri's appointment but... She's shit. I wouldn't go that far. She's a box-ticker Hugh, she can't think outside the box. No in fact she's built a box inside the actual box, and she's doing her thinking inside that box. Exactly, I like that. Sorry I'm so tired, Malcolm, so much stuff to read and think about at it.

You seem to get through it all right, don't you? Yeah well I find the time, you know, somewhere. Do you get lonely? No. No, neither do I. So, did you watch the Zeitgeist tape? Yeah, some of it, yeah. So you know EastEnders? You know Little Mo from big Mo? Boom-boom-boom-boop. What? I haven't watched it, no. What the fuck are you playing at, Hugh?

Are you playing at being a Minister, or are you actually a real life fucking Minister? I'm a real life Minister. I've never seen headlines like it. In what way? It's all gone to shite. Oh, the papers didn't like the policy? They fucking loathe it. Are you getting all this, Hugh? Yes, you're very clear. Do they all hate it? The Times? Especially The Times. 'Wait a second, the first editions haven't even gone to bed yet,

'how do you know...' Because I'm connected, I'm plugged into the matrix, I am the fucking matrix. Sorry? Have you not watched that tape yet? 'I'm taking it home now and I'm gonna watch it there. 'We've just bought a new video player 'off the back of Alicia's obsession with Pingu.' I want you all to pay attention. 'I've heard of Pingu.' This arts policy is dead, OK? As of now. Get a press release in the oven, fuck off the lot of you.

And Hugh, watch that tape... 'Sorry I was in the Blackwall Tunnel, could you repeat all that?' Anyway these focus groups, they're absolutely useless. Oh, it's useless to ask people what they think is it, it's useless to ask people their opinions? There's no point in asking people, they don't know what they think or they think that you should bring back hanging for traffic wardens or they think what every right-minded person would and that's just common sense.

Oh, yeah, I'm Jeff average, I think like everybody else. I'm Mr-Average-normal-bloke and everybody thinks like me because I work in IT and on the weekends I pop a few pills and I do a bit of DJing - spare cash because I'm a single mum and I'm a member of the National Trust, I enjoy any sports on TV, anything with Colin Firth, I enjoy domestic violence and sun dried fucking Karaoke. Not everybody is the same, Glenn, people can surprise you!

Was that good natured joshing? PHONE RINGS Tucker. Malcolm, hope I didn't wake you up. Hewitt... Yeah, I'm doing a piece this Sunday, a big piece on focus groups, it's sort of inspired by your latest policy disaster. 'I'm going to be concentrating 'on how your man Abbot can't do a single thing 'without focus groups.' I'm shaking with fear. That's sexual jealousy. 'You are so very very witty,' pity none of it makes it into your columns. I'd love to spend the evening listening to you, but I've got better things to do. Fuck off back to your match reports, you twat. Hello. Hugh, it's Terri. Yeah, hello.

I'm sorry I've woken you up. I wasn't asleep, I have to be picked up again soon, so I didn't think it was worth taking my trousers off. Listen, I've just heard that Simon Hewitt is doing another piece on you about how you rely on focus groups. 'Oh, cock.' But I'll be straight onto it in the morning, so don't lose any sleep over it. 'Are you taking the piss?' Erm, no... I'm sorry I've got to go, I'm sorry I've got an egg on.

Right, see you in the morning. Yes, snuggle up, bye-bye. Night, Hugh. Bitch! How fucked am I? Well, you look awful, you quite often look bad... In terms of negative publicity, on the fuckometer, where am I? Oh, twelve. Yeah, twelve say. Out of what? Erm, fifty.

Oh, mine was out of ten. Right, so I'm 24% fucked according to you but according to you I'm 120% fucked. Erm, yeah. Terri, have you got anything for us? I can't ask them to drop the piece, it would make us look pathetic. I don't mean to come across all Mr Grab Grind but sorting out the press is what you do for a living. This is Malcolm's problem, anyway. It was him that spun that... Listen up, this is what we're gonna do. I'm bringing forward Hugh's interview with Angela Heaney to this afternoon. Morning, Malcolm. It goes out as a spoiler tomorrow morning, that way we can get our side of the story across and also piss all over Simon Hewitt's cornflakes, sadly only metaphorically. Right OK, Olly, call Heaney, Terri, get on to our editor, Glenn, book a room, Bodie, Doyle, you go round the back.

At times of stress, I make jokes. Right, erm, what do I do? Sit down in front of the TV, you're gonna watch that Zeitgeist tape now. Right. THEME TUNE FROM THE BILL Shit. Yeah, I know but people watch it, this gets six million. Oh, shit. What? She's an actress. Who? Mary from focus group, she's an actress. Oh, relax that doesn't matter, these focus groups they do it all the time. They bung in a couple of actors. It doesn't matter because it's a focus GROUP, key word, GROUP. Oh, I just remembered, erm, can you just...? Shall I pause it? If you could pause it, for a second I'll be... I'm sorry I'll just be back in a sec. Glenn, I've got a bit of a problem. What? You remember Mary from the focus group? What Miss Immaculate Bloody Conception? She's an actress. What do you mean? What I mean... there's no clearer way of saying it, she's an actress. Are you sure?

She's in The fucking Bill. Oh, Jesus! This doesn't necessarily have to be a total fucking disaster. It means she wasn't for real. She's not really a stay-at-home middle-England housewife she's just playing a part, so what she said wasn't, you know... Yes, I do know. What who said what, wasn't what? Focus groups listen to the opinions of ordinary people, except they're not ordinary people,

they're fucking actors so they're not technically people at all. Can I get back to you? Your fucking legend is a fucking actress. The focus group companies do it all the time, if they can't copy together the right cross section they call a casting agency. Hire an opinionist, it's only three Liberals, two fucking Mavericks and a racist! We've based the whole thing on her, just her, her alone don't you see that.

Why didn't you run it past me for once? Oh, shit, shit! THEY WHISPER: No, you didn't. It's not real. I thought I recognised her. You know, she was in I saw her in Midsomer Murders... Why didn't you say anything? I thought she might have a twin or something. What a stupid thing to think! WHISPERING CONTINUES

Fuck, fuck! CRASH! You said she... Yes... Come out of the cupboard, Hugh. No. Hugh, we have to sort this out. When I asked you about the focus group... Yeah. You said she loved it.

We gave her a one-on-one. Why? She's middle England. So "middle England" is a big fucking field with one woman standing in it. Do you think Hewitt will find out? Of course he fucking will, she's his mole. That's why he's got a piece in the paper tomorrow. We've got to shut this down now, right? I want this leaked to Angela Heaney, it's damage control, OK? We put out the story the way we want it, before Hewitt fucks us up the bugle, get onto it now. It was Olly's... I'm sorry but it was Olly's idea, I went with it. It's not my fault. The agency lied to us, Hugh, the agency lied to me, it's not my responsibility...

we should get her in. It's my fault for going with it, I'm onto it, Malcolm. Get onto Heaney and her editor. set her up get her to do this. Talk to Angela, right, please? Can I speak to Angela Heaney, the wrong decision... Malcolm, I think we've made she's an actress. No, exactly. Look, I didn't know that abused, we are the victims of abuse. We've been lied to, we've been Shut up. Yes, I'll call her. Can you call her? You are a broken vase. How could I have known? What the fuck? You're a broken vase. How do I know she's an actress? you have to give me a stupid tape. I never watch television. That's why we're gonna talk to her... We're gonna get her in, to her. I'm good with people. She'll meet us, I will talk our point of view, we'll be fine. She can help us, she'll see that's what's going to happen. Well, I hope so, I hope Or we kill her. him look presentable? Can you try and make Comb his hair, change his tie. What is he looking dirty? It's fine, don't worry about it. I want you to look afternoon. You're looking evening television, if we can find one(!) Hawaiian shirt? I'll see You want me to wear a fucking Don't fucking mother me, OK? No, she can't have a car. just, just wanting to help. I'm not so much mothering,

can we get her in...tonight? Are we getting her, Mary in, Yes. Won't that look a bit odd? Get onto the agency. I've got a number for the agency... Anyone have a number? It's all right. you've met Glenn before... Yeah... Mary, you know Hugh,

he's our Director of Communications. This is Malcolm Tucker, Take a seat, Mary. you coming in at this ungodly hour. So, listen, we are so grateful for you flapping your trap. Yeah, there's a problem, Is there a problem? the issue of you being an actress. The issue is, Right, I actually prefer actor. Yeah, absolutely. I'm sorry, sexist, I'm sorry.

that was fundamentally honest, what you told us you know Essentially, you know, it was the truth, your thoughts, weren't they? They were genuinely from that it was essentially... I haven't got two children but apart to protect you... Most of this is really You invented the kids? I was... You made up small children? I know small children. That's sick. Jesus Christ, I'd... I was just being representative. But I know small children, you what you wanted. You invented children. I was giving compound themselves of what you're saying and the lies Eventually you lose track and that's OUR problem. like a crazy woman's shit and you end up all over the place the story to a tame journalist, What we've done is we've given you know, likely to be sympathetic. one who's more,

to happen tomorrow. Think about what is going to find the press all over you... Because tomorrow you are going No, not a good way at all. In a good way? She's probably fucking in it. have you seen that? That film Notting Hill, the guy opens the door You know that bit where are going off. journalists and flash bulbs and there's like millions of like fucking cockroaches. they'll be all over you That's going to be you, darling,

It's OK, it's OK... going to be OK No, it's not OK, it's not because you're fair game and I'll tell you why because every sniffing shit-bag so I hope your knickers are clean is going to be questioning you, that's ever filed a by-line public interest, isn't it? cos now it's in the fucking with any shit they can find And they're gonna hit you of them like a trollop in the stocks. and you're going to be there in front understand what's going on. I still don't really right...? Right. We can hold those dogs back, you a nice journalist, yeah? What do you mean? We can get journalist, Yes. We can get you a nice young Angela Heaney and maybe you... that he made you sign I mean I don't know what shit but whatever it was it was bullshit. that you were misquoted Maybe if you just say if you just said that. Who? and also that Simon Hewitt's a prick, you told your story to. The journalist that I didn't talk to any journalist. I didn't, You spoke to Simon Hewitt... Simon? to Simon Hewitt. No I... You fucking spoke dick, you fucking spoke to him. He's a fat guy with a tiny little I really think I'd like to go now. Did you speak? I don't even know... She didn't fucking speak to him. You didn't speak to him. whatever the... I don't know anyone called Simon, Hewitt. Simon Hewitt. Hewitt, yeah. She doesn't even know, Malcolm. What's the matter with him? Olly... Fuck's sake. that might have upset you. Sorry for anything I said line, darling, sorry about that. Sorry, there's just been a crossed Will you leave me alone? Jesus. For fuck's sake! She didn't even know. Fuck 'em. That didn't really work, did it? for my own, for my own sanity...? Can I just get this straight just can we pull the front page? If we get on the phone, No...it's too late. to go ahead anyway now? Heaney's piece is going to fucking go ahead, Of course it's going

fucking hold back the tide! I mean I'm good but I can't Kind of ironic really... That's it. I'm going to bed. You're fucking on your own! spoken to Hewitt She hasn't actually the story to the... and we've voluntarily released to the press...unnecessarily... guy? He was awful. Damn! And who's that evil Scottish

Communication, Malcolm Tucker. He's just the Director of He was ordering me... That's a big story in itself... He wasn't ordering you... and then telling me what to say. dragging me out of bed interested in that. Some papers might be a lot of initiatives coming up... This department's got Has it really, has it really? face for the renewal for... fairly like, you know, the And we're going to need have a whole campaign, soon we're gonna new stationery, pens... we've got all that... face won't probably fit on, with a stationery photo shoot? You are trying to bribe me No, erm... no, not bribe, no. None of this is happening, That was just small talk. I was just chatting, small chat. Can you wake me in a couple of hours?

There's no time to go home, I'll pass myself coming back in. I'll ring Catherine and say you won't be home. Hi, how did you get on... Happiness? Go away, Terri. I'll clear up a few biscuits whilst I'm at it. Kate, erm, just leaving a message for you,

I know you're asleep by now from Hugh, love to the kids, see Alicia in the morning and big kiss and sorry about the bedtime story, lots of love via Glenn, nightie-night. Email us at subtitling@bbc.co.uk