So there I am, listening to another one of those 'The Making Of' type shows, a Radio 4 Extra edition of What's Funny About... by Peter Fincham and Jon Plowman, concentrating on the BBC's political comedy The Thick Of It, which also was translated into the movie In The Loop and the HBO show Veep, by the creator of all three, Armando Iannucci. The show had Iannucci on, alongside Rebecca Front who placed Nicola Murray MP, a minister placed in a position well outside her level of competency, but with enough grit to hang on in there and become Leader of the Opposition despite everything like talent, ability and likeability, echoed later in Veep. The question was asked, why did Nicola Murray keep going back for more.
Rebecca Front revealed that, given the character's backstory of an unhappy marriage of many children and an unsupportive husband, that she decided that her character Nicola had a thing for Peter Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker, "in a really unhealthy, slightly abusive way". She also decided not to tell Peter "as it wasn't helpful, as it was never going to be a relationship comedy."
Armando Iannucci said "I didn't know that, but that makes sense of why she is so destroyed when she loses her family really, her job as party leader"…
Rebecca added "which she hated, she hated from beginning to end. It also informed the episode for me when Malcolm gets sacked because Nicola is devastated by that, at that point everything is going pear shape the only glimmer on the horizon, at least there's that, in her head, a Beatrice and Benedict vibe going on which is so awfully abusive and horrible but somehow, in her head, it's Sleepless In Seattle."
What's Funny About... can be streamed, free, globally, on the BBC Radio Player right here. They also have an episode on The Vicar Of Dibley, with Blackadder and Absolutely Fabulous to follow.