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Armando Iannucci does not think BBC licence fee will survive

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Armando Iannucci doubts the future of the BBC licence (Credit: PA)

Armando Iannucci has said the future of the BBC licence fee is doubtful.

The writer and director who began his career at the BBC with shows such as I’m Alan Partridge and The Thick Of It, fears the corporation may have left it too late in trying to compete with TV streaming services.

Iannucci told The Independent: “I doubt [the licence fee will survive]. People don’t buy TVs any more and they watch stuff differently. About four years ago I said I thought they should do licence fee at home and a subscription service abroad. I hope they haven’t missed the boat.”

Read more: BBC director-general Lord Hall says people still trust the broadcaster

Armando Iannucci's 'The Thick of It' was a Bafta winning hit for the BBC (Credit: PA)

The BBC recently joined forces with ITV and Channel 4 to launch streaming subscription service Britbox, but it has come under fire for charging US subscribers less and offering them more shows.

The 56-year-old director - who has just released a film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield - has enjoyed success with US shows Veep and Avenue 5 - produced by HBO - but believes the TV bubble may be set to burst.

He said: “I think it’ll have to inevitably, because already you get the sense, with Disney and Apple [and other streaming services] there’s more and more. I enjoy working for HBO because they don’t make many shows, which means you’ll be looked after and they’ll promote it. I don’t know how I’d feel on Netflix when you’re just dropped one weekend among 500 things.”

Iannucci acknowledges the cultural influence of The Thick of It, but said he wasn’t interested in delivering “a take on Brexit or Trump” with his next film.

Read more: Iannucci says there are echoes of Stalin in Trump

Speaking to Yahoo UK about David Copperfield he said: “I wanted to do something that felt positive and was about community.

“Maybe in the last three years of ‘we don’t want this’ and ‘we want to be away from that’ and ‘we don’t want these people’ and people not wanting to talk to each other, I just unconsciously thought that it felt right to do something that was about celebrating actually what this country is.

“I like being British and I feel lucky to have been born in the United Kingdom.”