General Election 2015: Ed Miliband avoids watching The Thick of It because 'it's too much like reality'

Labour leader borrowed the phrase 'omnishambles' from the satirical TV show but it reminds him of work too much to be able to watch it

Matt Dathan
Tuesday 07 April 2015 15:06 BST
Ed Miliband said he did not watch The Thick of It because 'it's too much like reality'
Ed Miliband said he did not watch The Thick of It because 'it's too much like reality'

Ed Miliband has admitted his experience of British politics is just like that depicted in the satirical TV programme The Thick of It.

He avoids watching it because "it's too much like reality," he said in an interview with Radio Times, adding it was "good that Spitting Image isn’t on”.

Ed Miliband has suffered moments during his leadership that would not look out of place in The Thick of It

But that did not stop him from borrowing a phrase from The Thick of It to sum up George Osborne's 2012 budget.

"Even people within Downing Street are calling it an omnishambles Budget," the Labour leader said in 2012.

The show's creator, Armando Iannucci, rejoiced at Mr Miliband quoting from his script:

The now-famous "omnishambles" phrase was coined by The Thick of It's co-writer Tony Roche, who gave the line to the star of the show Malcolm Tucker, the Prime Minister's fierce chief spin-doctor, who told a struggling minister she was an "omnishambles".

Mr Miliband tries to avoid watching any politics on the TV, even the BBC News.

“I tend not to watch the news, actually, he said in the interview." But then he backtracked, realising what he had just said:

The Thick of It's star Malcolm Tucker told fictional minister Nicola Murray she resembled an 'omnishambles'

"That will sound a little strange. Look, I tend not to spend much time watching myself on TV. Obviously, I do watch the news. But I tend not to shout at the screen."

Asked which TV shows he watched as a youth, he said: "Dallas is the one that comes to mind. And I used to watch Grange Hill. Also Not the Nine O’Clock News and Spitting Image. Frasier and Ben Elton on Channel 4.”

Ed Miliband expressed his relief that Spitting Image was not still showing on the TV

Pressed on more serious TV issues, the Labour leader said he had no plans to scrap the BBC TV licence fee, which is currently under review.

"I think it’s incredibly important that we protect the BBC. It’s recognised around the world and is a benchmark for standards in Britain," he said.

The BBC licence fee is up for review

Asked whether the BBC needs to spend more on making programmes rather than management, Mr Miliband said: “There needs to be a balance. And the BBC needs to take seriously the issue of management salaries: all organisations should. But I think [BBCDirector-general] Tony Hall is taking it seriously. Obviously, people have their frustrations about the BBC, but that doesn’t take away from its importance.”

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