Where's Malcolm Tucker when you need him?
Apparently viewers can't get enough of Malcolm Tucker – the swearing spin doctor in the satire The Thick of It . So much so, that actor Peter Capaldi, who plays him, is constantly approached by strangers in the street who ask him to tell them, in no uncertain words, to go away.
Tucker, with his great line in put-downs and humiliation, is a key part of the success of this show from writer Armando Ianucci. So it came as a bit of a shock to watch the opening episode and not see him once.
There was still plenty to enjoy, but I missed the Tucker touch.
Fortunately, we did have Roger Allam – magnificent as accident-prone Peter Mannion, new Secretary of State at the Department of Social Affairs.
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Poor Peter is grappling with the concept of coalition government, he hates his junior minister, his spin doctors speak a language he doesn't understand and – to cap it all – he's forgotten his wedding anniversary.
Could things get any worse? Of course they can. He's announced a policy no-one wants and, when the press track him down to his home, he is seen leaving in the middle of a working day with an empty champagne bottle in his hand. No wonder he sits, head in hands, telling his wife on the phone: "Oh good. The bailiffs have just arrived to repossess my will to live..."
Meanwhile, press officer (Joanna Scanlon) is desperate to be given redundancy. She irritates everyone so, ironically as it turns out, the chances of her going are pretty slim.
She resorts to asking Glenn (James Smith) for help pleading: "Can you put in a bad word for me?"
Great lines abound – "Have a hob nob and a lie down while we run the country" and new ideas like "deciding the best wine to have with fish and having a butler on every corner."
But it means nothing without Malcolm to tell us all to, ahem, go away. Luckily he's back next week.