The Thick of It to return with Leveson-style inquiry
Armando Iannucci's BBC2 political satire will reflect real-life changes in Westminster
Will Malcolm Tucker give his view on the future of press regulation? Photograph: BBC/Mike Hogan
An out-of-government Malcolm Tucker and the hapless Nicola Murray MP are set to return to BBC2 for a fourth series – the first since 2009 – with the corporation confirming it will be a case of art imitating life to reflect real-life changes in Westminster in the interim.
"This series takes The Thick of It into exciting and uncharted territory: a new coalition government, and Malcolm and Nicola fretting in the wings," said Iannucci, who dropped his second hint in as many months that the characters will have to contend with a public inquiry.
"For the first time too a storyline takes us all the way through the series right to the bitter, bitter end, with government and opposition convulsed in an incident that questions every political convention imaginable, but in a funny way," the writer added.
Last month he told an audience of journalists at a private screening of Sky Atlantic's Veep, his new US vice-presidential comedy, that the Leveson inquiry into press standards provided prime material for lampooning.
"It is interesting watching them all swear on oath and then saying what they say," he said at the time. "Tony Blair was giving – for want of a better word – his evidence."
The BBC2 controller, Janice Hadlow, said that the new seven-part series – which will air in September – was an "essential" part of the channel's comedy offering this year. Iannucci directs the penultimate 30-minute episode in the series.
Rebecca Front and Peter Capaldi will return, as will Roger Allam as Peter Mannion MP, the new secretary of state for the department of social affairs and citizenship.
Vincent Franklin plays No 10 director of communications Stewart Pearson, while Geoffrey Streatfield will play new coalition partner Fergus Williams MP, the junior minister at Dosac.
"I'm excited to see The Thick of It return to our screens," said the BBC head of comedy, Mark Freeland. "With an outstanding cast and team, it is still at the bleeding edge of British politics."
The new series was written by Tony Roche, Simon Blackwell, Ian Martin, Will Smith, Roger Drew and Sean Gray.
Additional material was written by David Quantick, Dan Gaster, Georgia Pritchett and Rob Colley.
Good news for fans of biting political satire – The Thick of It is returning to British television screens this autumn for a fourth series, with seven new 30-minute episodes scheduled for broadcast on BBC2.
Expect back room deals, ministerial cock-ups and political backstabbing to go into overdrive as Malcolm Tucker and company face their toughest challenge yet – working in a country with a coalition government.
Peter Mannion MP (Roger Allam) is now the Secretary of State for The Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DOSAC) and he will need to work closely with Number 10's Director of Communications Stewart Pearson (Vincent Franklin) in order to outwit his new coalition partner, DOSAC's Junior Minister Fergus Williams MP (Geoffrey Streatfeild).
But never fear, Nicola Murray MP (Rebecca Front) and foul-mouthed spin doctor extraordinaire Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) are not far away. Although they have now been consigned to Her Majesty's Opposition, the pair and their team are determined to return to power in the near future – whatever it takes.
"This series takes The Thick of It into exciting and uncharted territory: a new coalition government, and Malcolm and Nicola fretting in the wings.” said creator and producer Armando Iannucci.
He added: “For the first time too a storyline takes us all the way through the series right to the bitter, bitter end, with Government and Opposition convulsed in an incident that questions every political convention imaginable, but in a funny way."
Chris Addison, Joanna Scanlan, James Smith, Olivia Poulet, Will Smith, Ben Willbond, and Rebecca Gethings are also confirmed for series four of the show.