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