If there’s one thing we know as an absolutely certainty about Malcolm Tucker, it’s that he is not a stupid man. It might be that the party he work for, and some of the politicians in that party are stupid, but he isn’t, and he knows better than anyone else that Nicola Murray is absolutely not the right person to be the leader of the Opposition. In the wake of Mr Tickle’s death, with the Government under fire, Malcolm is readying plans to get Nicola out of power and get Dan Miller into position as the man to properly lead the Opposition.
So he pays an unexpected visit to the hospitalised Ollie to get things started. Ollie’s had his appendix out, and is suffering in a hospital room with no Wi-Fi and basic Freeview. Malcolm’s brought him flowers, but he didn’t buy them, he just took advantage of living close to an accident black spot. Steve Fleming has told the newspapers that Nicola Murray is ‘unelectable’ so Malcolm wants Ollie to ‘make a bomb’ and find something that can be used against Nicola to hasten her exit from the party’s top seat.
Meanwhile, Nicola is on her way to Bradford by train (it’s the closest Malcolm could get to locking her in a metal box) to promote a new initiative called ‘Here to Hear’, which as Ollie points out, is basically a way of being letting people tell you that they hate you in different accents around the country. She’s got an interview with Sky to do on the train too, but despite Malcolm urging her to push the Tickle story; she doesn’t want to do it, claiming it’s insensitive. To make the train journey even worse for Nicola, John Duggan is there too, the irritatingly useless press officer, who has a serious of inappropriate and annoying comments (such as ‘Please, call me JD, I’m rebranded), to ‘entertain’ Nicola with on what quickly becomes the worst train journey of Nicola’s life.
So while Nicola’s cut off from the real world, Malcolm’s kicking into a new gear, and his next target is Mr Blinky himself, Ben Swain. Malcolm wants Ben to resign, not to run for party leader, but to get the ball rolling and allow Dan Miller to step up today. Ben isn’t convinced it’s the right move for him, at least not until Malcolm promises him that he could come back as foreign secretary (the real one, not Northern Ireland), although Ben claims he would have done it for less, believing that he’s beaten Malcolm by getting promised such a good job.
When Nicola hears about Swain’s possible resignation, she panics and tells Helen to get Ollie on the phone and make sure he offers Swain anything he wants not to resign. By this point, Ollie has enlisted the help of Glenn, his old DOSAC friend, to help him find some ammunition to fire into Nicola’s soon to be lifeless body. Ollie calls Ben and tells him to name his price, and when he says ‘Shadow chancellor’ he and Glenn burst into laughter (as Glenn points out Swain ‘goes into debt every time he passes a sweet shop!’), but when Ollie passes this on to Nicola, she incredibly agrees to it.
But Ben’s time is coming to an end, and when Malcolm gets the email ammunition he needs, he can kill two birds with one very large flat stone and get rid of Ben Swain and force Nicola to resign. This was the funniest episode of the series, but it’s also another very well written episode that progresses the overall plot of the series. With Dan Miller now in place, Malcolm’s gotten the party back on its feet, let’s find out what happens next.