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The Thick of It writer Armando Iannucci warns of 'absolutely terrifying' future for the arts after coronavirus

‘We’ve got to have something to come back to’

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 09 June 2020 11:20
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The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci has warned that the coronavirus crisis may destroy the UK’s cultural landscape if the government doesn’t offer financial support to save it.

Due to the pandemic, the UK’s cultural industries have come to a standstill, leaving thousands of people without jobs as theatres, music venues and cinemas closed and production on TV shows and films halted.

Speaking to Sky News, Iannucci, who created shows such as the Alan Partridge series and Veep, warned that the industry “employs hundreds of thousands of people”, but most of them are freelance and therefore have “fallen through the cracks in terms of government support”.

He continued: “We’ve got to have something to come back to and if there is nothing there, if three-quarters of our theatres are shut, if there is nowhere for music to be played, bands have packed it in because all their money comes from touring – then what will there be left?

“It’s important that we think about what’s ahead, to what the cultural life of the country will be like.

“[The arts] contribute more to our gross national product than the oil and car industries combined,” Iannucci said, adding that as “one of the most important industries in this country”, it should be supported by the government.

Many creatives, including actor David Tennant and director Sam Mendes, have also recently asked the government to intervene to save the creative industries, with Mendes writing: “The performing arts need to be saved now. Not next week, or next month.

“If they die, an ecosystem this intricate and evolved cannot be rebuilt from scratch. If it stops breathing, it cannot be resuscitated. It is the product of decades of capital projects, loyal audiences, and of communities large and small.”

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