I SHOULD think Armando Iannucci’s latest feature will do very well amongst the British cinema going public. Best known for his biting satire - via BBC sitcom The Thick of It- and for co-creating Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge, the director now brings us The Personal History of David Copperfield. It’s a hoot!

Much like the vast majority of Charles Dickens’ beloved novels, David Copperfield has been a staple of screen adaptation for as long as such films have been made. Indeed, Copperfield has a heritage dating right back to Theodore Marston’s 1911 short and encompassing seven feature length takes. And that’s not including the half dozen television serials and stage plays to tackle the text.

How then can Iannucci’s offering stand out from the crowd? Certainly, it does that. Perhaps it is the choice casting of Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel in the lead role? The purist shudders, the liberal shrugs. Or, just maybe, it is a sharp, witty, thoroughly endearing and faultlessly charming script? I suspect the latter.

For those unfamiliar with Dickens’ Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery - first serialised in 1849 - it is the all encompassing life story a Suffolk born lad from infancy to middle age. Trials, tribulations, love, loss, debt and donkeys, this one has it all. The themes are dense and the story long, yet the longevity of Copperfield remains its personality and larger than life characters at every turn.

A hit at the British Independent Film Awards - in which Iannucci and company took home five major gongs - The Personal History of David Copperfield benefits not just from excellent writing but a cast to die for. Around Patel, Hugh Laurie is a welcome joy as Mr. Dick, with sparks too flying from Tilda Swinton’s Betsey Trotwood and Peter Capaldi’s Mr. Micawber. Ben Whishaw is unnervingly malevolent as Uriah Heap, with Paul Whitehouse, Aneurin Barnard and Benedict Wong equally smart in roles they make their own. What a treat too to see This Country’s hilarious Daisy May Cooper ascend to the big screen as Peggoty.

Whilst Iannucci is more of less faithful to his source, one or two absences strike as notable. The pace is furious and perhaps not so emotionally rewarding. On the other hand, I had too much fun to mind.