Any seasoned fan of Armando Iannucci’s political satire The Thick of It, one of the funniest and sharply written TV comedies of modern times, knows that when it’s done right, swearing is an art form.
It’s not just the exquisite timing and tone with which imagination-bending curses are delivered by brilliant actors like Paul Higgins and Peter Capaldi (an understated, anxious chap in real life), it’s the authenticity they bring to The Thick Of It’s portrayal of a world which, from what I’ve witnessed behind the scenes in both parliament and the media, is characterised by rudeness, threat and insanely high levels of impatience.
Which makes the decision for BBC America to broadcast the show — at midnight — with beeps replacing every swearword, about as stupid as the average Culture Minister.
As writer Simon Blackwell said, it must have sounded like ‘a lorry reversing into a heart monitor’.
Or as Malcolm Tucker might say, Shitehead Revisited.