The Thick of It: 15 of Malcolm Tucker’s most scathing putdowns

From “omnishambles” to “come the f*** in or f*** the f*** off”

Isobel Lewis
Monday 18 May 2020 12:06 BST
The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker's most scathing putdowns

Ah, Malcolm Tucker. With his acerbic wit, sharp tongue and devastating putdowns, he has managed to terrify and delight audiences like very few before him.

Referred to as “the PM’s all-swearing eye”, Peter Capaldi’s political spin doctor from BBC political drama The Thick of It is one of the TV greats.

Said to be modelled on Alistair Campbell, Malcolm showed the nation that swearing could be both big and clever when the show made its debut on BBC Four in 2005, with the show ending with his surprisingly heartbreaking resignation in 2012.

Malcolm’s insults became so prolific that “omnishambles” transferred across to the real life political sphere and was, in 2012, named the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year.

With his brilliance equally split between Armando Iannucci and his writing team’s script and Peter Capaldi’s deadpan delivery, we all have a Malcolm Tucker insult burned into our brains (or secretly want him to tell us to “f*** off”). To celebrate the show’s 15th birthday, here are 15 of his most scathing putdowns.

Series three, episode two | [To a journalist] “I really enjoyed your novel… way of writing a f***ing awful story.”

Series three, episode seven | Steve Fleming: “Everybody knows that we don’t like each other. We are the Gallagher brothers of politics.” Malcolm: “Does that mean that I am the semi-talented songwriter and you’re the f***ing loutish prick? That’s a lovely analogy.”

Series four, episode five | [To Nicola Murray] “You’re not a grandee, you’re a f***ing bland-ee. No one knew what the f*** you stood for, political f***ing mist, no substance, no weight. You have all the charm of a rotting teddy bear by a graveside.”

Series one, episode three | [To Ollie Reeder] “Feet off the furniture you Oxbridge t***, you’re not in a punt now.”

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Series two, episode four | [To Ben Swain] “I’ve never seen anybody look so f***ing ugly with just one head... Your hands were all over place, you were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra.”

Series three, episode one | [To Nicola Murray] “You are a f***ing omni-shambles, that’s what you are. You’re like that coffee machine, you know, ‘From bean to cup, you f*** up.’”

Series two, episode five | [To Ollie] “If you don’t go and get me some cheese, I’m going to rip your head off and give you a spine-dectomy.”

Series three, episode one | “He’s so dense that light bends around him.”

Series four, episode two | [To Nicola] “I think that you and I need to have a little talk. A proper talk, like when mummy explains why daddy’s going to be in the papers tomorrow.”

Series four, episode seven | [To Ollie] “I knew Malcolm F Tucker sir and you are not Malcolm F***ing Tucker. You’re not even f***ing Manchester’s top Malcolm Tucker tribute band.”

Series three, episode two | “I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that I had to run all my calls through your bed wetters’ switchboard here.”

Series three, episode one | [To Nicola] “Your dress is way too loud, I’m getting f***ing tinnitus here.”

Series two, episode five | [To Ollie] “F*** you, Andy Pandy. I am the loop.”

Series four, episode four | “Buy some flowers for Nicola f***ing Murray, have them delivered to her home this evening with a card that says, ‘Sorry you had to go, but let’s face it, you are a f***ing waste of skin.’”


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