Succession is in everybody’s top 10 list for best drama of 2019: big show, huge ambition, immense scope. So when its creator, Jesse Armstrong, was asked how he, one of the Peep Show team, had risen to the heights of an HBO international hit, it might have surprised some people that his answer was, essentially, Armando Iannucci.

The wiry Scottish comedy writer and showrunner has launched more careers than the Queen has ships, and his influence continues to grow: 2020 sees his HBO sci-fi sitcom Avenue 5 and his faithful but unexpected version of David Copperfield hit the screens — both in January in the UK, though Copperfield does not open in the US until May. Not content with giving career breaks to Chris Morris, Steve Coogan, Stewart Lee, David Baddiel, Patrick Marber and Simon Pegg, he’s also bringing Hugh Laurie back to comedy, with strong roles in both.

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