Female minister to tackle Tucker in 'The Thick of It'

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Has he met his match? The Bafta award-winning show The Thick Of It will have a female politician at the helm when it returns to the screen later this year.

New Social Affairs and Citizenship Secretary Nicola Murray will take on the expletive-wielding director of communications Malcolm Tucker for eight brand-new episodes of the political comedy. Murray, played by Rebecca Front, whose credits include Lewis and Nighty Night, will have her work cut out against Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, who is ready to fight fires caused by her department.

Murray will be in charge of regular cast members including Ollie, played by Chris Addison, James Smith, who plays Glenn, and Joanna Scanlan, who is ineffectual departmental press secretary, Terri. Armando Iannucci, who devised and writes the show, which is shot in a fly-on-the-wall style, recently reunited the team behind The Thick of It for movie In The Loop.

He said: "Fresh from the international arena of In The Loop, Malcolm Tucker will be brought back to British basics in this new series, and I'm delighted to have Rebecca Front, one of our funniest actresses, play his new nemesis, Nicola Murray MP. I can't wait to start shooting."

The new series follows a reshuffle – the last one before the general election. With the government at a low ebb and an election looming, the opposition are also in Tucker's sights. The show is currently in production and will air later this year.