Ar­mando Ian­nucci on the birth of Alan Partridge

Esquire (UK) - - Esquire Townhouse with Dior -

Com­edy le­gend is an overused phrase but in the case of Ian­nucci it’s frankly un­avoid­able. He joined his long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor and The Death Of Stalin co-writer David Sch­nei­der for a delve into his ca­reer high­lights which in­clude The Day To­day, The Thick

of It, Veep and of course, a cer­tain blazer-wear­ing broad­caster called Alan Ar­mando Ian­nucci: “I re­mem­ber say­ing to Steve Coogan, ‘Look, can you do a sports pre­sen­ter?’ And he came up with this

John Mot­son-type, and we were just on the floor. I re­mem­ber some­body say­ing,

‘He’s Alan.’ And some­one else say­ing, ‘And he’s a Partridge.’ So it was in­stant. Al­most like he emerged.”

David Sch­nei­der: “We wit­nessed the birth, fully-formed, of Alan Partridge.”

AI: “Kind of like a foal com­ing out of the back of a horse and sort of stand­ing up and clop­ping around…”

DS: “But still in a Pringle mem­brane…”

AI: “…Yes, with slicked-back hair. There was some­thing in­stantly funny about this per­son.” DS: “It was slightly dif­fer­ent from some of the other On the Hour char­ac­ters, wasn’t it?” AI: “Yes, the oth­ers were par­tic­u­lar to the topic, but Alan clearly had as­pi­ra­tions and we al­ready dis­cussed that he was ner­vous of the se­ri­ous news re­porters, rather like the guy who does the sport on the To­day pro­gramme at 7.26am and you just think John Humphrys is look­ing at him go­ing, ‘You’re not re­ally a re­porter, you’re just read­ing out scores.’ And we knew that Alan had that fear and he re­ally wanted to get into TV, break free from the jour­nal­ism side and do some­thing a bit warmer, a bit more light en­ter­tain­ment.”

DS: “He wasn’t happy there.”

AI: “He wasn’t happy. And we es­tab­lished pretty early on that he lived in Nor­wich.”

DS: “I re­mem­ber the con­ver­sa­tion about where he lived and some­one first said Mil­ton Keynes and we re­jected that be­cause it was too ‘com­edy-com­edy’.”

AI: “Yes, too route one. And no­body had done Nor­wich. I re­mem­ber when I’m Alan Partridge came out, the Lord Mayor of Nor­wich said that Alan had done more dam­age to Nor­wich than any ter­ror­ist at­tack. I said, ‘No! We’re not slag­ging off Nor­wich, we’re just say­ing he comes from Nor­wich.’ And there’s also some­thing funny about the fact that Nor­wich is just too far away from Lon­don, about a two-and-a-half-hour jour­ney, and for some­one who is still hav­ing meet­ings in Lon­don it’s a real pain in the arse.”

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