Looking back over a multifaceted career, the BAFTA Award-winning actress talks about her path into comedy, working with Armando Iannucci and being on the end of a Tucker-bashing. After 30 years in the business, Rebecca Front has found herself firmly ensconced in the league of comedy icons. Quite literally, in fact \u00e2\u0080\u0093 on new show Jo Brand\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Great Wall of Comedy, she\u00e2\u0080\u0099s joined on a sofa by fellow panelist Barry Cryer and the eponymous host, alongside guests like Hugh Dennis and Tony Robinson. Front pitches it perfectly as a \u00e2\u0080\u009ccurl up on the sofa with a cup of tea show\u00e2\u0080?. A celebration of mainstream television\u00e2\u0080\u0099s comedic pantheon, it is precisely the sort of show to relax to at the day\u00e2\u0080\u0099s end. It is also the sort of unchallenging fare that, until recently, you wouldn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t necessarily associate with the star of critically-acclaimed classics like The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge, Nighty Night and The Thick Of It. So what how does the BAFTA and British Comedy Award-winning actress think her younger self would react if she knew that three decades later all her effort would be so very worth it? \u00e2\u0080\u009cI think I would have been very chuffed that I was going to get the chance to do those things, because inevitably you only go into this sort of job if you have a certain amount of self-belief,\u00e2\u0080? Front explains. \u00e2\u0080\u009cBut equally, I don\u00e2\u0080\u0099t know a single performer who isn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t lacking self-confidence and I don\u00e2\u0080\u0099t think I\u00e2\u0080\u0099ve changed that much from how I was when I started out. I\u00e2\u0080\u0099m still quite insecure but equally there\u00e2\u0080\u0099s a bit in the back of my mind that thinks \u00e2\u0080\u0098I could do that part\u00e2\u0080\u0099. So I don\u00e2\u0080\u0099t think I\u00e2\u0080\u0099d be very different.\u00e2\u0080? Although her much younger self grew up with comedy-loving parents and caught the performance bug after they took her to recordings of Spike Milligan\u00e2\u0080\u0099s seminal Q Series, Front reveals that she \u00e2\u0080\u009cdidn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t really set out to do comedy\u00e2\u0080?. Hoping to get into acting, she made the pragmatic choice to go to Oxford University. But after repeatedly being relegated to auditions for minor roles by \u00e2\u0080\u009cthe tall, willowy, beautiful girls who were getting seen for the lead\u00e2\u0080?, frustration soon set in. With one path obstructed by the questionable judgment of Oxford\u00e2\u0080\u0099s drama society, Front found herself welcomed by the institution at which so many of the UK\u00e2\u0080\u0099s most respected comic performers cut their teeth. \u00e2\u0080\u009cI went to an audition for the Oxford Revue and there were hardly any women there. I thought: \u00e2\u0080\u0098Hang on, this might be a chance to shine and do something different.\u00e2\u0080\u0099 Coupled with the fact that I wrote songs anyway it just seemed like the obvious thing to do.\u00e2\u0080? Rising to become the Revue\u00e2\u0080\u0099s president, it was here that she formed a double act with close friend Sioned Wiliam (who herself went on to become controller of comedy at ITV), which was commissioned for a show on the BBC\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Radio 4. In need of a producer for its second series, Wiliam suggested a former Revue colleague who Front had only met a couple of times at Oxford. His name was Armando Iannucci. Thankfully, their third meeting would produce a long and fruitful partnership. After the series ended, Iannucci asked Front to do a few sketches on The Mary Whitehouse Experience radio show, which led to memorable roles in the early 1990s in On The Hour (the radio show that became The Day Today), The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You, alongside the likes of Chris Morris and Steve Coogan. Today these shows are revered by seasoned comedy fans, but Front says that while everyone involved at the time knew they were onto something good, she never considered the legacy being established. \u00e2\u0080\u009cWhen you look back you tend to think: \u00e2\u0080\u0098The Day Today was a bit of a classic.\u00e2\u0080\u0099 The critics seemed to like it but the viewing figures were quite low, so it didn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t feel like it was making a massive impact. It didn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t feel earth-shattering; it just felt like we had made a really good show.\u00e2\u0080? Despite working alongside some of comedy\u00e2\u0080\u0099s strongest male personalities in an era when comedy offered women fewer opportunities, she never felt denied a voice or that her ideas wouldn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t be taken seriously. This was partly down to equal environment that Iannucci encouraged, she says. \u00e2\u0080\u009cHe\u00e2\u0080\u0099s got quite a unique ability to bring out the best in everybody. I don\u00e2\u0080\u0099t think it even occurs to him that it\u00e2\u0080\u0099s a man and a woman \u00e2\u0080\u0093 he just thinks in terms of characters and people\u00e2\u0080\u0099s abilities.\u00e2\u0080? Iannucci certainly knew how able Front was when selecting her for the prime role of Nicola Murray in The Thick Of It. Though when he called to offer it to her, Front admits it took a while to realise what was being proposed. \u00e2\u0080\u009cI was co-writing something for Armando, and I was half-expecting some notes on the script we\u00e2\u0080\u0099d just delivered. I was quite surprised he was talking about the next series of The Thick Of It. He knew that I loved the show, so I thought he\u00e2\u0080\u0099d rung me up to tell me there\u00e2\u0080\u0099s another series. Then he said: \u00e2\u0080\u0098Do you fancy it?\u00e2\u0080\u0099 I didn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t know what he was talking about. He said he was thinking the new minister should be a woman and what did I think? I still didn\u00e2\u0080\u0099t know if he was offering it to me or asking me my opinion so I said it sounded like a good idea. He thought I was being incredibly cool and stand-offish, when actually I was thinking: \u00e2\u0080\u0098Oh my god, that\u00e2\u0080\u0099s brilliant!\u00e2\u0080\u0099\u00e2\u0080? Of course, accepting meant taking the full force of a foul-mouthed evisceration from Peter Capaldi\u00e2\u0080\u0099s scabrous Malcolm Tucker. Having already collaborated with many of the big beasts of comedy, rather than flinching from in the face of a Tucker-bashing, Front reveled in it. \u00e2\u0080\u009cI think I might have liked it slightly too much, because I\u00e2\u0080\u0099ve mentioned it to other people and they all found it quite intimidating. In the context of the show it\u00e2\u0080\u0099s hilarious, but there\u00e2\u0080\u0099s something even funnier about it when you\u00e2\u0080\u0099re in a room and it\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Peter, who\u00e2\u0080\u0099s this really gentle, softly-spoken bloke, suddenly transforming with all the veins popping and his eyes bulging.\u00e2\u0080? Jo Brand\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Great Wall of Comedy begins Sunday June 16 at 7:30pm on Gold.