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Armando's Tale of Charles Dickens

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As if the average Christmas were’t Dickensian enough, this year a bicentenary and a BBC season upped the ante. Armando Iannucci’s contribution is this thoughtful profile in which the writer/producer argues that Dickens’s world is our world, too. 

He doesn’t labour the writer’s themes of debt and injustice (Dickens’s father went to debtors’ prison, a trauma that scarred the young Charles), but makes a good case for Dickens as “the finest comedian we’ve ever produced”. Phill Jupitus and Josie Long are among those happy to agree.

Along the way we see fascinating handwritten manuscripts and the annotated copies Dickens used
for public readings. The journey begins at the Dickens World theme park in Kent, where Iannucci is disappointed to discover there are no artful dodgems to be found.


Satirist and lifelong Charles Dickens fan Armando Iannucci, worried that endless adaptations of the novelist's work have led his skills to go unappreciated, sets out to prove why he still matters as a writer in the 21st century. Using David Copperfield as a starting point, he unpicks the language and the revolution of a master storyteller, and with the help of funnymen Barry Cryer, Kevin Eldon and Phill Jupitus, he gets beneath the skin of some of the more outlandish characters. Finally, through encounters with the types of people Dickens wrote about, including lawyers and a debtor, Iannucci claims that his stories are just as relevant today.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Armando Iannucci
Contributor Barry Cryer
Contributor Phill Jupitus
Director Deborah Lee
Executive Producer Basil Comely
Producer Deborah Lee
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