Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci

Date of birth: 30-11-1963
Half-Italian, half-Scottish Armando Iannucci abandoned his Oxford graduate studies in English to take up a career in broadcasting - and has since become one of the most important catalysts in bringing comedy to the screen.

He started his career in the early Nineties as a radio producer, working on The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Quote... Unquote, The News Quiz and On The Hour. This spoof news show transferred to TV as The Day Today and spawned Alan Partridge, whose award-winning shows on TV and radio Iannucci produced and co-wrote.

Iannucci has also fronted his own satirical shows, including The Saturday (or Friday) Night Armistice on BBC Two, his self-titled show on Channel 4 and his Radio 4 show Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive. He is also a regular on Radio 4 panel shows such as The News Quiz and The 99p Challenge and has worked on a number of Radio 3 shows, because of his passion for classical music.

More recently, he created the political satire The Thick Of It, about a beleaguered Minister trying to cope with the pressure imposed by his army of spin doctors, and the spoof clip show Time Trumpet.

In 2006, he was made Visiting Professor of Broadcast Media at Oxford University, and was appointed as a BBC executive to develop new comedy shows.

He is also a columnist for The Observer, and a collection of his earlier newspaper work for the Telegraph and the Guardian was published in a 1997 collection, Facts And Fancies, which was also adapted for a Radio 4 series.

Iannucci has also directed a number of TV commercials, for clients incluting Nationwide.

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Russia pulls Death of Stalin

Premiere axed over fears it's 'extremist'

The Russian premiere of Death of Stalin has reportedly been called off, after outraging some government figures.

According to the country’s State-run news agency RIA Novosti, the culture ministry withdrew the distribution licence for Armando Iannucci’s satire at the last minute. It had been due to launch on Thursday.

Cultural and political figures had lobbied minister Vladimir Medinsky  to suspend the certificate, claiming the film ‘contains information that can be regarded as extremist, aimed at humiliating human dignity’. 

After watching a private screening of the film, 22 signatories – including film directors and historians – wrote an open letter calling for the ban.

They said: ’Not only is this a work with very poor actors and a careless and untruthful backdrop, the film is also a libel on the history of our country, an evil and absolutely inappropriate alleged "comedy" that demonises the memory of our citizens who defeated fascism.’

The also complained about the trailer for the film, which used ‘obscene expressions and actions’ to play the National Anthem.

Nadezhda Usmanova, the head of the Russian Military Historical Society, told Reuters the film was ‘despicable’, adding: ‘It's a bad film, it's a boring film, and it's vile, repugnant and insulting.’

It has been reported that the release may be put back until the summer, to avoid clashing with the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Some members of the Communist party first raised concerns about the film in October, claiming the film was unfair on Stalin, whose regime was responsible for an estimated 20 million deaths in labour camps, forced collectivisation, famine and executions.

Spokesman Alexander Yushchenko called the movie an ‘abomination’ although Vladimir Putin’s office insisted at the time that it shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.

The Death Of Stalin stars Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev, Michael Palin as Soviet diplomat Vyacheslav Molotov and  Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov, who briefly succeeded Stalin. Paul Whitehouse, Justin Edwards, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine  and Andrea Riseborough are also among the cast.

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Published: 23 Jan 2018

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