Armando Iannucci - Armando Iannucci Reveals Why Sky Beat The Beeb To Alan Partridge
Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters aired on Sky Atlantic instead of The BBC due to the channel’s refusal to give the show a prime time slot, according to Armando Iannucci.
Speaking to Richard Bacon in a question and answer session, Iannucci gave a frank appraisal of the process in which Mid Morning Matters ended up on Sky. “Mid Morning Matters was only there as an online project but because it took off we had interest from the BBC and Sky. We didn't take it to Sky because they offered more money, we took it to Sky because they said they would leave it alone, they wouldn't interfere,” he explained. MMM did indeed garner a huge online following, perhaps due to Steve Coogan’s previously successful characterisation of Partridge, but equally down to it’s tight script and compact, new-media-friendly style which made it an accessible (free) bite of online comedy. "[The BBC] said because it had gone out online they would put it out late night after Newsnight because it didn't feel like a new show. And if there was a new series could we open it up a bit and take it away from the radio station ... which for me was essential.”
Iannucci - honest as ever - was insightful about the shift in power in U.K television, saying that the BBC was "waking up to the fact" that talent was looking elsewhere. "Hang on, scripts aren't coming in any more, he's gone to Sky. Hang on, why's he doing a Channel 4 show? I know the people at Sky, they used to work for the BBC. Honestly the money – I've got no idea what we got for it – it wasn't about the money."