Armando Iannucci: Annual TV Lecture 2012

Hi Film Folk!

Last night The Film Doctor Team attended BAFTA‘s famous annual TV lecture, where BAFTA ‘invites one of TV’s foremost figures to give their personal view on creative excellence in television and their vision for the future.’

This year comedy’s finest producer Armando Iannucci talked with the spirit, verve, humour and simplicity that must have been so integral to producing shows such as The Day Today, I’m Alan Partridge, The Armando Iannucci Shows, The Thick of It, In the Loop and Veep.


Now this lecture was about the UK television industry but as an international Film service we would like to present all our readers with truths that apply to both industries…and globally!


Here are Armando’s thoughts:

– ‘I was going to call the lecture Make Good Programmes and just come up on stage, say Make Good Programmes and then leave because it really is that simple.  Never underestimate the intelligence of the audience, make good programmes and they will come.’


-‘Content is King.’ This saying has been around for quite some time but Armando used it to illustrate that the way viewing habits (i.e. watch what you want, when you want) are headed, viewers will no longer tolerate bad programming or ‘programmes that have been made to fit a commissioner’s criteria.’ Armando believes that producing good content is key rather than trying to fit in with what commissioner’s are looking for.


-‘All the viewers care about is that rectangle (the screen) that they’re watching. So make sure that what’s in that rectangle is the best and funniest it can be…even if it means dropping the shot of a beautiful view that your location manager sold his wife to get. The viewers don’t care about that, just what’s in the rectangle.’


-‘Know your bottom line.’ Armando consistently put creativity above money during the lecture and said that if there is too much interference with what he wants to do creatively then he will take the project elsewhere. It is clear that ‘knowing your bottom line’ (what you are and aren’t OK with, working with commissioners or anyone else) is one of the keys to his success.


– ‘There’s no excuse any more, because of digital, NOT to make content. Obviously some things still cost money but there really is nothing to stop anyone doing anything.’

Armando went on to show this youtube clip that ‘cost nothing to make’ and that he feels represents the spirit of easy-to-make, low-budget comedy. The creator of the video was subsequently hired as a writer on Veep:



-What Armando did call the lecture: ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ because he feels this is what writers, directors and producers must do, with their own work, to succeed.

Armando Iannucci Lecture Roundup:


-Make good content with the audience in mind.


-Only collaborate with people you feel have the same creative interests at heart.


-No excuses.



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Have a great week!
The Film Doctor Team
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