Malcolm Tucker

Malcolm Tucker: The Missing Phone - the first app ever to be nominated for a TV BAFTA.

The challenge

Faber and Faber approached us with one of the most exciting briefs we've ever received - The Missing DoSAC Files. This original book, created by Armando Iannucci and the writers of The Thick Of It and In The Loop, contains Malcolm Tucker's private emails, documents and letters. The premise of the book is that Malcolm Tucker, Communications Director for a major political party, has left this dossier on a train - and it contains enough material to bring down the Government. But would it make for a good app?

The approach

Working closely with Faber, we asked the question: What if Malcolm had lost his phone? We set about taking the book back to its roots, repurposing it as the content of a fully-functioning Government-issue smartphone. Printed emails became Malcolm's threaded Inbox. Personnel documents became email attachments. Malcolm's guides to political life became a shared folder of essential documents for politicians.

Of course, a smartphone wouldn't just contain emails and documents. We pitched the idea of creating new content specifically for the app's conceit, and Armando and his co-writers loved it. Over the coming weeks, they created voicemails, SMS conversations, voice memos, missed calls and Twitter feeds, to reinforce the concept that this really is Malcolm Tucker's iPhone. New and exclusive audio was recorded by Peter Capaldi, Rebecca Front and Chris Addison, to further reinforce the conceit.

And we had a final trick up our sleeves. (Warning: contains spoilers.) When you first launch the app, you'll find one new voicemail waiting for you from Malcolm Tucker. If you choose to listen to it, you'll set in motion a chain of events, running in your own personal timeline. Emails and voicemails from Malcolm and his colleagues will start to arrive, as the story of Malcolm's lost phone unfolds around you. The messages will keep coming, even if you quit the app.

Let's just say that Malcolm wants his phone back, and he'll be calling you shortly to demand its safe return. In the only way he knows how.

Malcolm Tucker: The Missing Phone is available on the iTunes Store from Faber Digital for iPhone and iPod touch, priced at £3.99.

Features

  • Read Malcolm's private emails, documents and SMS messages
  • Hack in to his voicemails
  • See his recent calls
  • Listen to his personal voice memos
  • Follow his colleagues on Twitter
  • Receive new voicemail messages from Malcolm Tucker, Nicola Murray and Ollie Reeder, even when the app isn't running

The results

Malcolm Tucker: The Missing Phone became the first app to be nominated for a TV BAFTA, at the 2011 British Academy Television Awards.

Fans and critics alike have loved the app since its launch in December 2010:

"Makes consummate creative use of technologies of communication on which we depend in our networked life." - The Guardian

"The incoming mail and missed call notifications make owning Tucker's missing phone a near-reality." - The Observer

"If you’re interested in how books can work as apps, you must download this app." - Telegraph Online

Media pack

Download the media pack, containing hi-res screenshots, artwork and icon images for the app.