Profile: Armando Iannucci, writer, producer, director, performer

Profile: Armando Iannucci, writer, producer, director, performer

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Armando Iannucci
Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci, best known for creating hit political comedies The Thick of It and Veep, began his comedy career while at university, appearing in two revues at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He entered working life at the BBC where he served as a radio producer on shows such as Just a Minute and Week Ending.

It was here that he met the likes of Chris Morris, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Front, creating On the Hour, a satirical show that parodied news broadcasting and where Coogan debuted his notorious Alan Partridge character.

“We wanted to do a comedy show that didn’t sound like any other comedy show,” Iannucci told the RTS at an Early Evening Event.

On the Hour’s success led to Iannucci working on his first TV show, The Day Today, which retained the same principal cast as its radio predecessor.

Today Iannucci is best known for his political satires The Thick of It, In the Loop and Veep.

The Thick of It, which ran for four series, was created on a tiny budget, with then-BBC Four Controller Roly Keating tasking Iannucci with creating a series for £100,000.

The result was a three part series, improvised and shot like a documentary.

“I didn’t want it to look staged,” said Iannucci, “I wanted a bit of improvisation. It was as if we were eavesdropping on reality.”

The show was a success, and led to a film spin off, In the Loop, transporting sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) and co to Washington DC.

Iannucci was recruited to work The Thick of It’s US pilot, however broadcaster ABC did not commission a series, and Iannucci later slammed the show, claiming the US version had lost the improvised feel and heavy use of swearing that had made the show a success in Britain.

Iannucci has recently announced he is stepping down as showrunner from HBO series Veep, about the United States Vice President, which has received multiple awards, including three consecutive Emmy awards for Julia Louis-Dreyfus who plays VP Selina Meyer.

Iannucci is currently working on adapting Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield for BBC Films and is also developing a comedy about the death of Stalin.

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