hugh murray


Faces of The Thick of It: 1990s edition

This is a little something I’ve been working on for quite a long while because, let’s face it, it’s the kind of thing I like to do.  After discovering by chance the baby Malcolm and baby Jamie clips, I had to see how many more faces I could find*.  The only rules I set myself were that all the years given in the text must match the year of the clip – if it says 1994, it really is from 1994 and so on – and that I have to look at the clip and say yep, I can believe this is a younger version of the person I know from the show. 


Malcolm Tucker and his death glare, 1994, political editor of the most critical anti-government tabloid, tearing his way through the ranks on his way to the very top, and there’s nothing he won’t do to get his party out of opposition and back into Number 10 where they belong.

Jamie MacDonald and his tongue, 1996, exiting the courtroom – followed by barrister Geoff Holhurst QC (yes, really) – after he and his steely-eyed editor were found not to have defamed a lying twat of a government MP in an investigative article because every word they published was fucking true.

Peter Mannion MP and his bedroom eyes, 1994, a junior minister at Defra – where he’s just had the strangest encounter with a Sainbury’s press officer – during the time of his raging affair that will soon result in the birth of his son by his mistress, followed shortly thereafter by the burning of his record collection by his wife.

Hugh Abbot MP and his undiminished joie de vivre, 1996, it’s been a year since he won his Backbencher of the Year award and was called the future of ethical politics by Betty Boothroyd and life couldn’t be better as the requests for television and newspaper interviews still just keep pouring in!

Ollie Reeder and his fringe at Cambridge, 1998, where his idea of a great night clubbing is putting in his contact lenses and spending the entire time arguing with his girlfriend about whether the UK’s exit from Exchange Rate Mechanism had an overall positive or negative net effect on the voting habits of ABC1s in marginal constituencies during the last election.

Glenn Cullen and his sober professionalism, 1991, chairing a local party meeting in the absence of Hugh, and proving beyond a doubt he has always been reliable and also that he’s always been 55.

Nicola Murray and her first child related sporting humiliation, 1994, on her only attempt at doing a baby swim class with Katie, age 1, after which she informed James that fuck being a stay-at-home mum, they are getting a nanny, and she is going back to her job at the Leamington Town Council immediately, whether he likes it or not.

Terri Coverley and her scarf of musical theatre, 1999, just because she’s recently left her job as head of press at Waitrose to take up a civil service position as head of communications for the Department of Social Affairs, doesn’t mean she’s giving up her wine tastings, her book club, her dog agility classes, or directing her annual production of Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat

Steve Fleming and his mustache of impotent rage, 1994, proving some people never ever EVER change.

Stewart Pearson and his favorite tie, 1998, proving that a weekend at a Celtic music festival, an introductory yoga class, half a tab of E – that he didn’t even take – and the cult of Steve Jobs, will change some people more than you’d expect. 

*I also have Dan Miller, Claire Ballentine, and Ben Swain, but for reasons of space they didn’t make the final cut.

Agnes Murray Kynynmond, Daughter of Hugh Dalrymple Murray Kynynmond, Wife of the Right Honourable Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Bt, MP

Allan Ramsay (1713–1784)

The National Trust for Scotland, Newhailes




extravagant or absurdly uncritical glorification; the act of turning into a pumpkin; becoming a gourd.

Etymology: originally derived from The Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii, literally The Gourdification of (the Divine) Claudius,  a political satire on the Roman emperor Claudius, most likely written by Seneca the Younger. The title plays upon “apotheosis”, the process by which dead Roman emperors were recognised as gods. “Apocolocyntosis” is Latinised Greek, i.e. Ἀποκολοκύντωσις, “Gourdification”.