Armando Iannucci puts The Thick of It to bed as Washington comedy Veep apes US government shutdown

 

Viewers are used to Whitehall scandals which appear to have been lifted from The Thick Of It. Now Armando Iannucci has repeated the trick with Veep, his Washington comedy, which returns with an episode depicting the catastrophic results of a US federal government shutdown.

The Emmy-winning Veep, in which Julia Louis-Dreyfuss plays the hapless Vice President Selina Meyer, returns for a second series on Sky Atlantic this month.

Satire imitates life when Meyer receives the blame for a government shutdown, created by a similar case of Congressional gridlock which has caused 700,000 US civil servants to be sent home from work this week.

Veep predicts the chaos which could ensue, as bears start eating people because there are no park rangers. Meyer’s approval ratings plummet when she hires a private contractor to clear the garbage which has piled up outside her home.

Iannucci, series creator of Veep and The Thick Of It, said: “We do a kind of intelligent guesstimate of the things that are happening. They’ve come so close to a shutdown before, it’s almost like every Thanksgiving there’s a shutdown threat. So we thought, let’s do a shutdown crisis. We talked to our advisers about what happened during the Clinton shutdown of 1995.”

Like The Thick Of It in Britain, Veep has won the approval of the political class which it satirises. “Vice-President Joe Biden invited Julia to lunch,” Iannucci said. “Then he invited her to come to a speech he was giving at the CIA.”

He added: “I’m dubious of getting too close to politicians. I do get requests from some high-profile politicians to be in it and I say ‘No’. We don’t want to get too cosy. I’m always baffled they can’t see that it’s not a programme that portrays politicians in a favourable light.”

The comedy writer disappointed fans of Veep's Westminster predecessor, saying: “I think the world of The Thick of It has quietly been put in its box. I felt like I’ve done what I wanted to do with the series. Now I’m observing (UK politics) as a member of the public, so when I see Ukip I don’t think, ‘this is great material’, I think ‘dear god in heaven.’”

But Iannucci said he was “very pleased” that Peter Capaldi, spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, will be next Doctor Who. Capaldi would be “tremendous because he has that range. As the Doctor you can see Peter going from gentle to being that strong, powerful personality.”

Veep has already been commissioned by HBO for a third series, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmys two years in a row.

The second series sees the vice president given a greater role in the administration whilst future episodes will tackle abortion, immigration and gun control.

The Veep characters will cross the Atlantic for an episode set in London but Iannucci said it was very unlikely that their paths would cross with Tucker or any other alumni from The Thick Of It.

Veep Series 2 airs on 16 October, at 10.30pm on Sky Atlantic.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea