The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci compares Tory plan to his episode ‘The Rise of the Nutters’

Armando Iannucci has compared a bizarre plotline in The Thick of It to the Conservative Party’s latest immigration initiative.

The Tories recently announced their plans to enforce a yearly limit on the number of UK visas issued.

The plans, unveiled shortly after Nigel Farage announced his parliamentary candidacy for the Reform Party, would see the government ask its Migration Advisory Committee (Mac) to provide a recommendation level of the annual visa cap, which ministers will then consider before putting the proposals to parliament for a vote.

Monday (3 June) also saw the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, have a promotional opportunity torpedoed by Liberal Democrat campaigners on a passing boat.

ITV footage shows Sunak speaking to a group of rowing enthusiasts in Henley-on-Thames, as a boat with Lib Dem signs sails on the water behind him, with people waving to the camera.

The humorous clip has provoked several social media users to jokingly question whether real-life political events are inspired by The Thick of It, which starred Peter Capaldi, James Smith, Rebecca Front and Joanna Scanlan as employees in the fictional government’s Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship.

“I swear Armando Iannucci is going to demand a licensing fee for this Tory election campaign,” wrote one amused X user, while another added: “It’s very often said that this is The Thick of It but, oh my GOD.”

Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and PM Rishi Sunak (BBC / screengrab / Getty)
Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and PM Rishi Sunak (BBC / screengrab / Getty)

Iannucci, who is known for creating the much-loved programme as well as the US comedy Veep, acknowledged the comparisons in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday (4 June).

“Those asking if The Thick of It is writing this election may want to note that today’s Tory immigration plan – shunt it off to an independent body to decide, so ministers can avoid talking specifics in interviews – is the main plot of 2009’s special ‘The Rise of the Nutters’,” he wrote.

In the episode, the prime minister’s office prepares to deploy a new undercover investigation into immigration conditions ahead of the PM leaving Number 10.

Earlier this year, show star Capaldi remarked that the programme couldn’t be recreated today as the state of contemporary politics is “beyond a joke”.

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr on LBC in January, Capaldi said he’s “not terribly keen” on revisiting the series due to the current fraught political atmosphere.

“And joking about it just in some way, takes the spotlight away from the problems,” he explained. “And I think that [the] problems are profound.”

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