The star of North Norfolk Digital has found himself back on the Beeb, as Steve Coogan’s most famous creation finds himself co-hosting a BBC magazine show.
Alan Partridge is currently standing in as a host on This Time, alongside regular Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding). Has Alan’s presenting style changed since he last had his own BBC show with Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge? No – he’s still as tactless, incompetent and ego-driven as ever.
Over the course of this “live” half-hour programme, Alan finds himself in trouble when he talks about oil disasters caused by Shell, presents a feature on the importance of washing your hands otherwise bacteria breed like, “randy Catholic rabbits”, and interviews a hacktivist who he discovers has not just been going through his radio station’s accounts, but also Alan’s own emails.
There was also appearances from some of Partridge regulars, such as his PA Lynn (Felicity Montagu), who becomes concerned that Jennie is stealing Alan’s jokes, and Alan’s radio sidekick Simon (Tim Key), with whom they try to present a feature on a touch-screen computer in an effort to make This Time, “10% more Foxtons”.
Alan will always be the star of the show, perhaps best evidenced by the fact that we don’t see most of the filmed features. When the show cuts to them, we stick to the studio cameras and see our hosts trying to relax as best they can. Although, when talking about Alan Partridge, “best” is probably not the word to use.
For me, it’s his unexpected turns of phrase that are some of big highlights. These include comparing the country’s lush countryside to a buxom woman, although as he himself states, it might not be a woman, but instead, “a smooth, fat teenage boy”. Then there is complicated demonstration of how he uses a train toilet without using his hands.
Even after all these years, Coogan is able to get some top quality comic moments from his creation, one that has been developing for nearly 30 years. Given all that experience, perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising. As long as there is something still being broadcast, his creation will still be there trying make himself the big star he thinks he deserves to be.
This Time with Alan Partridge is on BBC One at 21.30 on Mondays.