BBC 'licence to stray' for star writer

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The Independent Online

Armando Iannucci, the award-winning comedy writer behind I'm Alan Partridge and The Day Today, is returning to the BBC in a two-year exclusive deal, with a "licence to stray" into new genres such as politics and the arts.

Iannucci will working for all four BBC television channels, and is free to move outside the comedy genre. "I'm also keen to come up with new ways of developing politics and the arts, particularly music, on television," Iannucci said. "It's the freedom the BBC has given me to mix different genres together that's been particularly trouser-watering." Alan Yentob, the BBC's director of drama and entertainment, hailed Iannucci as "a begetter of a raft of comic creations ... a brilliant producer, a great innovator, no mean presenter and a champion of new talent".

Iannucci and Steve Coogan began working together 10 years ago on Radio 4's On The Hour, and on the successful first Alan Partridge series, Knowing Me, Knowing You.

His first TV series in 1994 was The Day Today, written with Chris Morris. He went on to write and present the Montreaux award-winning BBC2 show The Friday Night Armistice.