TV comedy’s top 10 jargon abusers

To celebrate the return of W1A, we salute the top 10 comedy characters who talk absolute mother-thumping rubbish…

Yesnobrilliantverygoodverystrong. As satirical BBC mockumentary W1A returns tonight for a triumphant second series, we celebrate TV comedy’s rich lineage of jargon fans.

Drawn from across the political spectrum and from TV’s most biting depictions of the worlds of business, government, technology and the media, these guys are master obfuscators. They’re neologism-coiners and proponents of the kind of abuses to the English language that, in a just world, would see them locked up and force fed copies of The Elements Of Style.

From The Thick Of It to Peep ShowYes Minister, The Office, Nathan BarleyThe Day Today, and Drop The Dead Donkey, across the Pond to 30 Rock and Silicon Valley, we present TV comedy’s top ten full-of-it jargon-meisters.

Stewart Pearson – The Thick Of It

Who is he? Techno-idealist Director of objectivising blue-sky Communications for the Cabinet Office, wearer of paisley shirts and owner of a folding bicycle. Lad from Leeds with a lust for life. Commonly found maintaining traction in coalition, detoxifying, conflictising, and truffling in the forest of knowledge.

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Most likely to say: Let’s architecturalise.


Nathan Barley – Nathan Barley

Who is he? An online urban culture dispatch self-facilitating media node. Owner/operator of totally fucking Mexico website (dot cock, yeah? Registered in the Cook Islands).

Most likely to say: Keep it livid. Keep it dense, yeah?


Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock

Who is he? A six sigma Princeton man with hair like a Viking who specialises in synergising backward overflow and crushing problems in his mind vice. Of course he’s wearing a tux, it’s after six. What is he, a farmer?

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Most likely to say: Good God, Lemon.


Siobhan Sharpe – W1A, Twenty-Twelve

Who is she? Okay, here’s the thing the thing is okay the thing is she’s two things, okaysurefineyeah, Head of Brand and Perfect Curve PR. Holy shet sureyeahcool we looove Siobhan. That’s like, a no-brainer.

Most likely to say: Surefineyeahcool, I’m totally good with that.


Sir Humphrey Appleby – Yes, Minister

Who is he? While such categorisation would be premature, the overt manifestation of the individual in question’s official position is Secretary of some degree of Permanence to Jim Hacker, despite his somewhat nebulous and inexplicit remit and the peripheral nature of his influence being shrouded in impenetrable obscurity.

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Most likely to say: While it has been government policy to regard policy as a responsibility of Ministers and administration as a responsibility of Officials, the questions of administrative policy can cause confusion between the policy of administration and the administration of policy, especially when responsibility for the administration of the policy of administration conflicts, or overlaps with, responsibility for the policy of the administration of policy.


Gavin Belson – Silicon Valley

Who is he? Head of Hooli, the innovative tech global community that isn’t just about software, it’s about people. Hooli is about making a difference. Hooli is about about transforming the world as we know it. Hooli is about making the world a better place through minimal message-oriented transport layers.

Most likely to say: I don’t want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do.


Collatelie Sisters – The Day Today

Who is she? Business and Finance correspondent and interpreter of the Currency Susan on news magazine programme, The Day Today.

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Most likely to say: A quick glance at the Currency Cat. Slightly fractious in the nines and sevens. Large profit slumps for Securivag and United Ha-ha. A disconcerting 47% slope against the dollar. Spack Handy Chop Tubes up 2.4. Chris. Collatelie Sisters. The Peseta burst open at 4. Trading remained succulent for the rest of the day. Chris. A disappointing gutter surge tomorrow. Chris. Summary. Business. Chris.


Alan Johnson – Peep Show

Who is he? Former Senior Loan Manager at JLB Credit and latterly Management Consultant at Consultio/Consultius. Speed Tai-Chi practitioner, so stick that up your dojo. He’s just a doctor. He didn’t make the needles sharp.

Most likely to say: Tonight should be a free-fire idea zone. Watch a DVD, eat some pizza, fuck each other. I’m serious. Fuck a chicken if that’s what it takes. Watch a chicken fucking a horse. What? You think the guys who invented Google sat around watching Trumpton?


Denholm Reynholm – The IT Crowd

Who is he? Deceased keen cyclist, pensions fraud specialist and founder of multi-million pound company Reynholm Industries, a business empire the like of which the world has never seen the like of which.

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Most likely to say: I am declaring war on stress.


David Brent – The Office

Who is he? Regional Manager (Slough) at paper merchant Wernham Hogg. A friend first, a boss second, probably an entertainer third.

(See also his international counterparts: Gilles Triquet, Bernd Stromberg, Michael Scott, David Gervais, Manuel Cerda and Avi Meshulam)

Most likely to say: Trust [hand gesture], encouragement, yeah? Aka for you. Reward, yeah? Vis a vis loyalty [hand gesture, bites bottom lip] satisfaction.


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Gus Hedges – Drop The Dead Donkey

Who is he? Executive management module for GlobeLink TV News Co. and Sir Roysten’s right-hand man. Sort of hands-off, eyes-on, overviewing, non-participatory CE and roamer of the high seas of enterprise.

Most likely to say: Could you come for a brief Scuba in my think tank? Stir-fry a few ideas in my think-wok?

W1A series 2 starts tonight, Thursday the 23rd of April, at 9pm on BBC Two.

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