Armando Iannucci: ‘I personally am not a sweary, angry man’

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He’s famous for the expletive-packed political satire The Thick of It, but now the comedy guru is tackling Dickens

Armando Iannucci is not someone you’d describe as having a commanding presence. He doesn’t want to consume all the oxygen in the room or, with a show of bored impatience, imply that it’s your good fortune to share his company. He may be well known, but there’s nothing of the celebrity about him. Short, balding and understated in manner, he could pass for a provincial loss adjuster come to assess your insurance claim. But he is arguably the most influential figure in British comedy of the past three decades, not to mention an accomplished film director.

When I meet him at a London hotel, he is busy promoting his third feature film, The Personal History of David Copperfield, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s eighth and most autobiographical novel. His first film, In the Loop, grew out of his seminal satirical TV comedy The Thick of It. The second, the highly acclaimed The Death of Stalin, was a darkly comic but historically accurate account of the Soviet dictator’s end and its farcical aftermath.

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