The Thick of It



British government satire has dry wit and strong vocab.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series pokes fun at the British political system and the people who manage it.

Positive role models

Tucker is difficult and often disrespectful. Most of the staff does not like him, but do his bidding for political reasons.


Mild arguments between government staff are frequent. Contains brief references to terrorism, rape, and other mature issues in ways that are intended to be comical.


Some crude references to genitals and sexual acts.


Words like "piss" and "s--t" audible. The word "f--k" is bleeped and/or replaced for American audiences; strong British vocab like "twat" are also used.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking (beer, wine) is visible on occasion.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Thick of It satirizes the British political system and contains lots of strong language ("piss," "s--t"; the word "f--k" is muted or voiced over), drinking, and some mildly crude references to genitals and sexual acts. It probably won't appeal to younger viewers, but older teens should be able to handle it.

What's the story?

THE THICK OF IT is an award-winning British comedy centering around Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), an aggressive and foul-mouthed director of communications who deals in crisis management for 10 Downing Street from the mismanaged offices of the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. Tucker's domineering ways keeps MPs like Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham) and Nicole Murray (Rebecca Front) in line with the prime minister's politics, and keeps staffers like senior minister advisor Glenn Cullen (James Smith), special advisor to the secretary of state Oliver Reeder (Chris Addison), and civil service press secretary Terri Coverley (played by Joanna Scanlan), on their toes. But as Tucker struggles to maintain his stronghold over the department, other government players, including Steve Fleming (David Haig) pose a threat to his position.

Is it any good?


The comedy series, which is is produced in a mock-documentary style, offers a satirical look into the world of British politics, and how British political leaders strive to control the information to make them look good in the media. The way specific political races are woven into its fictitious plot lines is also very clever.

It's entertaining, but viewers unfamiliar with British government and politics may find some of what they discuss here a bit confusing. Others may find the comedic style, which relies heavily on dry wit, very different from what they are used to. But if you are looking for a well-written and well-produced British satire, this one definitely fits the bill.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about some of the differences between American television and shows from other countries. Why are some things considered funny in the U.S., and not in other places, and vice versa? Why can European shows feature more profanity and nudity on non-cable networks than American network television?

  • Also, why are American TV shows considered to be more violent than television shows from Europe? Are these differences a result of differences in culture? Or is it something else?

TV details

Cast:Chris Addison, Peter Capaldi, Rebecca Front
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bymad about tv April 3, 2015

great studt of politics

A great show with loads of political dilemmas. Just be aware that there is tonnes of swearing which is frequent and very strong. There are also strong sex reference that are fairly frequent.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byWildFlower753 August 14, 2013

Don't listen to CommonSenseMedia. Listen to me.

The show certainly has language (not bleeped), but it is an entertaining romp. Sure, it's about politics- but it's hilarious. If your kid can handle extreme cursing and some sexual references, I recommend it. It's witty, clever, funny and interesting.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent Written byPoppyParent August 5, 2013

More R/TV-MA rated!

I started watching this and in the first few minutes of the first episode the F word was used three times. I turned it off right away.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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