Friday, 3 February 2012

Inside PR and Corporate Communications - Part 1

A Tucker of your own
A guest post by Submariner

Malcolm Tucker, the hard man of government PR in TV comedy triumph The Thick Of It, is not based on BadAl Campbell after all. At least not according to Peter Capaldi, who plays him.
For a fictional character, Tucker has had a remarkable cross-over into real life, or what passes for it in the worlds of politics, the media, and senior business management.
When Capaldi visited Number 10 a couple of years ago he was amazed at how many government PR people wanted to be photographed with him, despite the bullying, the bad language and the general brutality. I wasn’t amazed. Tucker is superbly written, and superbly performed. You can’t take your eyes off him: he dominates the screen. And for all his faults, he is funny, a relentless stream of cruel wit cutting down all barriers in his path. Who would not love to be able to do that sometimes?
What began as a gargoyle has become a recruiting poster. Tuckermania is now more than a fad for its fans. In interviews Bad Al himself has been careful to align himself with Tucker’s energy, determination and ability to turn the air blue. He knows the glow of reflected glory. But, alas, Machiavelli, alack Armando, satire can be dangerous.
For a while now, the corporate world has been passing through the looking glass. It has been seduced by a fiction. It has fallen for the whiff of testosterone, the heroic vulgarity, the aura of dangerousness, and the mythology that you can always control the media through intimidation. If you’re an important CEO, you want a Tucker of your own.

Part 2  - Life Imitates Art


Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

Yes, but what a shabby world when people like that start getting to be regarded as admirable - however grudgingly!

Submariner said...

Indeed, HSB, and I shall turn to some of the practical implications of that shabbiness in a later post.

JuliaM said...

It's quite a recent phenomenon in entertainment - look at the success of characters like 'House'.

Woman on a Raft said...

The logical consequence I suppose of asking the literary question: how far can I push this unattractive character and still retain the sympathy of the audience?

A line of characters stretch from Sherlock Holmes (1887) through to James Bond (1953), and Alan Moore did it in V for Vendetta (1982) and now is worried about the power of what he created.

Armando Iannucci lapses in to his own character's lingo, as reported on Anna Raccoon:

Who is the twat-thumper who put me down as a 'contributor' to the Government's weep-rag LabourList? I want his or her cock for a salad.