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Armando Iannucci was allowed ‘three C-bombs’ in The Thick of It if he brought down the ‘f*** quota’

Malcolm Tucker was the king of swearing (Picture: BBC)

The Thick of It is known for its inventive and plentiful swears, led by the foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by a pre-Tardis Peter Capaldi.

‘What the f*** is this, Tinker Tailor Soldier C***?’ springs to mind.

So it may not surprise you that the satirical BBC comedy was so sweary that BBC bosses counted an F-bomb for every five seconds.

Series creator Armando Iannucci says he was told to tone down the number of obscenities in The Thick Of It by corporation bosses who were monitoring the number of obscenities in the hit political satire.

In one instance, Iannucci says he was told he was allowed to use the C word three times in an episode – but only if the F word was cut to 10 times a minute.

The 57-year-old writer says he was effectively given a quota of how many ‘f***s’ he was allowed to use per minute.

Speaking on Jeremy Paxman’s podcast, The Lock In, the Scottish comic writer and director said: ‘I still have the emails where someone in the BBC said “last week’s episode had the equivalent of 13.9 f***s per minute.

Armando Iannucci said he was asked to trade some Fs for some Cs (Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

‘”Your latest script requires three ‘Cs’. We will allow you three Cs if you can get the f*** quota down to under ten per minute.”

‘I’m not a swearer – Alan Partridge isn’t full of swearing.’

Iannucci said he based the bad language on his own research, speaking to former civil servants, MPs and former ministers.

He told the 70-year-old former Newsnight presenter: ‘I did my research and went to speak to these people who had worked in government. At the time, it was the tail-end of the Blair government.

‘The impression I got was that it was very macho, very high testosterone – every day was a crisis and there was a lot of swearing, but it was very dull swearing.

‘It was just the F word again and again and again, and I thought we have to reflect the swearing.

‘But it’s very boring if it’s just someone saying “f***” all the time so its more about how do we dress the swearing up -so it’s really the elaborate adjectives that go around the swearing.

The show ran for four series (Picture: BBC)

Iannucci, who directed the series with the likes of Jesse Armstrong and Simon Blackwell, said they would write the spin doctor’s swears at the end of a long day: ‘It was always a fun thing to do at the end of a busy day.

‘If we felt we had worked hard on the script, we would give ourselves half an hour of writing Malcolm swearing as a loosening up and cooling down exercise at the end of the day.’

While ‘f***’, ‘c***’ and ’t**t’ were some of Tucker’s favourite words, one of his cleaner insults crossed over into real life after appearing in the first episode of series three.

While ranting at new cabinet minister Nicola Murray about her reluctance to get into a lift, Tucker fumed: ‘Not only have you got a f***ing bent husband and a f***ing daughter that gets taken to school in a f***ing sedan chair, you’re also f***ing mental. Jesus Christ, see you, you are a f***ing omnishambles, that’s what you are. You’re like that coffee machine, you know – from bean to cup, you f*** up.’

‘Omnishambles’ was then used by Ed Miliband during a round of Prime Minister’s Questions in 2012 while he discusses the government’s budget, and later that year, was named the word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Thick of It began in 2005, focusing on the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, and ran for four series and two specials, ending in 2012.

The series also resulted in a spin-off movie In The Loop, which still featured Malcolm Tucker but starred The Thick Of It actors including Chris Addison, Joanna Scanlan, Olivia Poulet and Simon Blackwell in different roles.


Credit: Original article published here.

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