Framed by the police for a serial killer’s crimes, Timothy Evans was one of the last men in Britain to be hanged. Although authorities now accept that he did not carry out those crimes, they still refuse to quash his conviction. His story is dramatised in the BBC’s excellent ‘Rillington Place’.
In the late 1980s, American TV networks were on the hunt. Advertisers were trying to attract those with disposable income, which in terms of a TV demographic meant the fairly intelligent, fairly affluent middle. What that demographic responded to, they reasoned, were high production values, involved storylines, and lofty concepts; the ingredients that led to conversations over the water cooler in the office for days after. The ABC network in particular had need of a show that generated that sort of buzz, occupying third place in the race of the three main networks. It was this humdrum hunt for viewing figures and advertising dollars that gave rise to a show about incestuous rape, the interpretation of dreams, teenage prostitution, the plight of the Tibetan people, drugs and pornography, coffee and pie – in other words, all the things that auteur David Lynch thought went on behind the respectable facade of small-town America.
Firstly; I am very happy that Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor.
He’s a wonderful actor, and in the relatively short space of time that he played Malcolm Tucker, Capaldi has created (along with Armando Iannucci and Ian Martin, of course) one of the finest comic characters in recent TV history. In the same way that Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder took a simple simile and turned it into an art form (“This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you have got a moment, it’s a twelve-story crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour portage, and an enormous sign on the roof, saying ‘This Is a Large Crisis’.”), so Malcolm Tucker took the simple swear and proved that it was not just big and clever, it could also be monumentally funny:
- The simple swear: “Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off.”
- The anatomically dubious swear: “Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your shitter with a lubricated horse cock.”
- The nested swear loops: “If some cunt can fuck something up, that cunt will pick the worst possible time to fucking fuck it up cause that cunt’s a cunt.”
- The swear as everyday discourse: “How much fucking shit is there on the menu and what fucking flavour is it?”