With the announcement this past week that Rebecca Front will guest star in Doctor Who Series 9, alongside Peter Capaldi, one might be forgiven for wondering if Steven Moffat is slowly gathering the cast of The Thick of It to recreate the show in space.

She joins Chris Addison in the list of actors from the political drama series who have stepped into the Doctor Who universe. Addison’s character in series 8 was something of an afterlife pencil pusher not too dissimilar to his Thick of It persona, Oliver “Ollie” Reeder, Junior Advisor (later Special Advisor) to the Secretary of State (Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship [DoSAC]).

Back in March of this year, Armando Iannucci, writer of The Thick of It, publicly stated that he is interested in writing for Doctor Who.

“I’m a big fan of Doctor Who and obviously with Peter, who’s loving it, it would be nice to… I’ve spoken off and on to them but it’s a case of being able to fit something in. It’s a nice thought.” – Armando Iannucci

Capaldi was, of course, famous for his role as the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker, a character loosely based on Tony Blair’s director of communications, Alister Campbell. Anger, ruthlessness, and a general disdain for pretty much everyone around him were some of Tucker’s nicer attributes, and many have pointed towards the Twelfth Doctor’s less than patient characterisation as a parallel. The Twelfth Doctor is also an incredible game player, one who can plot out the actions of his enemies and allies to his own ends, much like the Seventh Doctor, and much like Tucker.

Malcolm F. Tucker

The Doctor is a lot less swear-y, though. Unless ‘shut up’ is a Gallifreyan curse, of course. There is a quiet anger to the Twelfth Doctor, where Tucker was a lot more open and volcanic with his rage. And what’s more, and a more important side to the Doctor, where he differs from his political twin, is that this Doctor is willing to give people a chance to redeem themselves. We saw in his début episode, Deep Breath, that he was prepared to defeat the clockwork robot who was harvesting body parts, but he was also ready to sit down and talk to them, to give them an opportunity to walk away.

There was still a certain nobility to Malcolm Tucker that came out especially in the final episodes. When face with the downfall of his party, Tucker struggled against great odds to save face and mount a coup, but ultimately had to sacrifice himself. He wanted to go out with dignity, but ended up hiding near the bins at a police station before finally letting go of all his pride and striding out to take the blame on his own head.

Malcolm is gone! You can’t know Malcolm, because Malcolm is not here! Malcolm left the building years ago! This is a husk, I am a host for this job. Do you want this job? Yes, you do want this job. Then, you’re going to have to swallow this whole life and let it grow inside you like a parasite. Getting bigger and bigger and bigger until it eats your insides alive and it stares out of your eyes and tells you what to do.” [strong language redacted]

There’s sadness to the character. A deep, bitter rage about not only the incompetence he perceives around him, but also at how much of his own life has been eaten up. There is some of this in the Doctor – he is someone who has spent so long saving the universe, so long travelling and fighting, that it has taken over everything. The Doctor is, perhaps, unable to define himself outside of his identity as ‘The Man Who Stops the Monsters’.

What other actors from The Thick of It might be appearing in Doctor Who soon? Time will tell. It usually does.