why ‘The West Wing’ is the perfect antidote to the ‘The Thick of it’

When it comes to great TV shows The West Wing takes some beating. And whilst it is of course fictional, it is littered with comms and PR case studies.

By Alex Ross

The polls are still open in the US Presidential Election as I write this, but it should be all over by the time you read it. 

Before the results come in and to recreate the tension and behind-the-scenes excitement, my wife and I did what we usually do…flicked between the finale of The West Wing and live election night coverage.

And do you know what?  It’s pretty hard to separate fiction from reality.

But unlike the depressingly accurate depiction of ‘how it is’ in The Thick of It, The West Wing still shows us ‘how it should be’ in government communications – driven by ambition, innovation, a desire to change the world for the better.

Okay, so it was made before social media and smartphones, but focusing on channels misses the point.

The West Wing depicts a world where great communications make a difference and where great communicators are trusted, influential advisers to the most powerful person in the world.

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why malcolm tucker must die

Armando Iannoucci's BBC series 'The Thick Of It' has ended. An epoch-defining series that told the story of how a fictional Government department ran with a spin doctor at its heart.  

By Dan Slee

As beautiful illicit guilty pleasures go watching BBC2's The Thick Of It is not exactly an out-of-control gambling habit.

A satirical fly-on-the-wall Yes Minister for the 21st Century Civil Servants and politicians scheme, plot and manipulate obsessed by the whims of public opinion.

Chief amongst them is the figure of Malcolm Tucker. Like 'Iago with a blackberry'  as The Spectator calls him in the programme itself, he is the government's director of communications whose Machiavellian command of the dark arts of spin is direct drawn from the underworld. Nothing is too low.

"Congratulations on your first confirmed kill," he chillingly writes on a card to a junior who ill in hospital goes along with his plot to unseat the Leader of the Opposition. Out of the box the card comes from drifts a helium baloon with a picture of the deposed Leader sellotaped to it. A perfect blend of malice and slapstick.

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