'Veep' Creator Armando Iannucci Tells U.K. TV Industry to Be Bolder, More Aggressive

3:38 PM PST 09/10/2012 by Georg Szalai
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At a BAFTA lecture, he expressed frustration that U.S. TV has overtaken British programs as the most influential in the world.

LONDON -- Armando Iannucci, the creator of such TV shows as Veep and The Thick of It, on Monday called on British creatives to be bolder and help the country's TV output to greater global prominence again.

Iannucci delivered the 2012 British Academy of Film and Television Arts TV Lecture here in a session for members of the industry group.  

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According to the BAFTA Twitter feed, which summarized some of his key comments, Iannucci expressed "frustration that over the past five to 10 years, U.S. TV has overtaken U.K. TV as the most admired and influential."

It added: "Iannucci calls for greater aggression in British TV promotion abroad" to allow the industry to attract more money for U.K. TV production.

"Iannucci cites shows like The Sopranos, Mad Men, The Wire and Dexter as examples of a recent wave in bold, daring TV in the U.S.," the BAFTA Twitter feed also said about his lecture.

In the U.K., "too often the commissioning executive becomes the chief creative for a show," which means that too much energy is spent trying to please that executive, Iannucci said. “If we operate under a culture of caution and compliance, our TV industry will not flow at full strength."

Imploring the British creative industry to create great shows, he titled his speech "Fight, Fight, Fight," according to BAFTA.

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"We must make international TV our way," the organization's Twitter feed quoted him as saying. "We have the advantage of belonging to the best creative pool in the world."

Iannucci finished his lecture by urging his audience to "produce from the heart, out of passion." After all, "what better way to connect than to fight," he argued.

According to some tweets about his speech, he also criticized attempts by politicians and media moguls to interfere with or bully TV networks, particularly public broadcaster BBC, and their creatives. He urged the BBC, which is getting a new director general in George Entwistle next week, to fight back.

Iannucci also said that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and his family were "just not as frightening anymore" following the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and standards on the heels of the phone hacking scandal, according to the Guardian

Iannucci also shared his career mantra with the BAFTA crowd on Monday night: "Make good programs, and they will come."

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And he said that he concentrates fully on the TV monitor when creating anything. "That rectangle is all the viewer cares about," the BAFTA Twitter feed quoted him as saying.

It also cited comments from him that highlighted the power of the Internet "to remove any hindrance of ambition for creatives" and said he lauded such U.K. talents as Simon Cowell.

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