The reviews to date neatly summarise the division of opinion on Series 4. It's less laugh out loud funny (and as one broadsheet said, at times it is too toxic to be truly funny) but more poignant and better acted. To this extent, while the Shakespearean comparisons are all apposite, and Peter Capaldi's acting in the last programme in particular is spell-binding, it is rather reminiscent of Blackadder Goes Forth when all that tomfoolery, contempt and incompetence goes out the window as a number of the lead characters are all in it (or, more accurately, out of it) together.
It was a bold move withholding Capaldi's Tucker until the second episode. It increased the anticipation and created a greater sense of relief and balance between the coalition on the one hand and Labour on the other. As ever Series 4 coincided with a number of life imitates art moments, chief of which was the Goolding Inquiry. The double episode for those was utterly compelling and was, I thought, a natural conclusion for the series. The actual final episode was, in some ways, little more than an uneven epilogue but, as mentioned above, worthy alone for Tucker's soliloquies and the King is Dead, Long Live the King feel. In short, as Alan Partridge would say, ignore the nay-sayers and see the conclusion to one of the recent highlights of television.
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