THIS TIME WITH ALAN PAR­TRIDGE

Aha! In­side Alan’s re­turn to main­stream tele­vi­sion

Empire (UK) - - The Watch List - BH

in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy I Par­tridge, Alan de­scribed the BBC as suf­fer­ing from a “re­stric­tive, chok­ing, sti­fling, suf­fo­cat­ing bu­reau­cracy and cre­ativ­ity-abort­ing com­pli­ance cul­ture”. Now he’s back there for the first time since fail­ing to se­cure a sec­ond se­ries of Know­ing Me, Know­ing You.

Alan’s not-quite tri­umphant re­turn is mostly due to good for­tune. And Brexit. “We felt be­cause of Brexit the BBC might have in­ter­nal memos say­ing they’re un­der­rep­re­sent­ing a cer­tain sec­tion of the com­mu­nity which, weirdly, is rep­re­sented by Alan Par­tridge,” ex­plains Steve Coogan. “It’s like BBC man­age­ment is say­ing, ‘We don’t un­der­stand these peo­ple but ap­par­ently there are a lot of them out there’”.

Apart from his pol­i­tics, Alan is only given this fi­nal chance of launch­ing an un­likely prime­time main­stream TV ca­reer come­back be­cause the co-host of fic­tional mag­a­zine show This Time

(“the bland­est pos­si­ble ti­tle”, says Coogan) hap­pens to have been hos­pi­talised af­ter a heart at­tack. BBC bosses have rashly turned to Brex­i­teer Alan to be his tem­po­rary re­place­ment, along­side highly pro­fes­sional co-host Jen­nie Gre­sham (Su­san­nah Field­ing). “So Alan worms his way back into the BBC,” con­firms Coogan. “And then it’s about hang­ing on…”

If the scenes we watched dur­ing a re­cent set visit are any­thing to go by, Par­tridge “hang­ing on” could well make for the fun­ni­est it­er­a­tion of Alan yet.

Smell his cheese: Alan strikes a text­book pose out­side the BBC.

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