Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review

Book Cover

Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive
Series 3


Starring: Armando Iannucci
BBC Audio
RRP: £15.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4084 0038 8
Available 12 June 2008

Armando Iannucci and guests return with a heady mix of topical comedy, chat and outrageous fibs. The rise of Gang Culture, the spread of You Tube, the demise of Northern Rock and DNA testing are all put under the microscope as Armando and the team tackle such burning issues of the day as: would the Pentagon function more efficiently if it was an Octagon; and what is the chemical reaction that takes place in golfer Tiger Woods' brain when a member of the public addresses him with the words; "Easy, Tiger!". Plus there's exclusive audio footage of the legendary Clash of the Interviewers, when Jeremy Paxman met John Humphrys...

Fellow comedians making satirical and surreal observations on current event include Stewart Lee, Mark Watson, Dave Gorman, Russell Howard, Jo Brand, Dara O'Briain, Clive Anderson, Phill Jupitus, Rich Hall and Jack Dee...

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between August and September 2007, the third series of Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive features another six episodes of Ianucci's very loose chat show where guests tackle topical issues with a light-hearted slant and plenty of lies.

Episode one features Stewart Lee, Mark Watson and Justin Edwards. Highlights include Lee's story about Huw Edwards taking 30 sachets of sugar from Starbucks ("He's a sugar thief, and that's not a euphemism for anything"; Lee's story about David Attenborough taking 20 ketchup sachets while on a visit to London Zoo; a debate on whether Richard Dawkins actually exists; and the conclusive proof that Robert Ludlum's literary success is down to the fact that his books all have three word titles: "The" followed by a name or normal noun, followed by a more unusual noun.

Episode two features Jo Brand, Dave Gorman and Will Smith. Highlights include a letter of complaint from Richard Dawkins about last week's episode; examples of BBC news stories that have not been fact checked; and the study that claims purple food is good for you.

Episode three features Dara O'Briain, Simon Evans and David Quantick. Highlights include asking the audience to comment on the latest news stories; exclusive audio footage of the legendary Clash of the Interviewers, when Jeremy Paxman met John Humphrys; and the fact that the show isn't live - so listeners texts were a waste of time.

Episode four features Clive Anderson, Mark Watson and David Cross. Highlights include Iannucci announcing who is speaking - in response to listeners complaints that you can't tell the difference between the guests voices; a look at the special relationship between Britain and America entitled You say "Potato", we say "Don't Shoot us We're on the Same Side"; the Olympics; and a misfortunate mishearing of "car crash".

Episode five features Russell Howard, Michael McIntyre and Andy Zaltzman. Highlights include doctors pronouncing "Armando" as "Amanda" when he visits them; a government initiative to ensure that all household get a red bin for unwanted pets; after the BBC commissions Victoria's Empire the panel attempts to come up with ideas for new shows where the host's name fits the show's subject; and Iannucci's attempt at honest, accurate humour.

Episode six features Phill Jupitus, Jack Dee and Rich Hall. Highlights include a discussion on Northern Rock; Jupitus's naff Gordon Brown impression; and free giveaways with newspapers.

This is six hours of quality comedy and while some may moan that this is Iannucci just regurgitating the same format he's being using for years, who cares when the material is this good?


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£9.59 (Amazon.co.uk)
£10.99 (Play.com)
£15.99 (Waterstones.com)
£15.19 (Tesco.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.