THIS TIME WITH ALAN PARTRIDGE
Aha! Inside Alan’s return to mainstream television
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.