Steve Coogan’s patronising and sarcastic creation Alan Partridge was back on Monday night, and bang on form!
After over a decade off of our TV screens we were all very excited when we heard Sky Atlantic had commissioned an hour long episode where Partridge takes us around his much loved Norfolk landscapes. All the places that have shaped the former TV chat show host are now available to the viewer, which is quite a clever ploy used by Coogan to add even more depth to the already dynamic character that is Alan Partridge. We have seen him at his highest, hosting his own TV chat show, his lowest, when he overloaded on Toblerone and gained weight and now we see him somewhere in the middle, somewhat content yet still as bitter as ever! The autobiography released by Coogan on the life of Partridge added to his tactic of turning his character in to a real person, and the way we see him in this new show again only deepens this.
The show had a feel of being under produced and slightly rough around the edges. It had scenes cut together very badly (such as the swimming pool scene and the graveyard scene) but this showed how far Partridge had fallen in his career, as this was the type of work he was getting now.
“So where did he take us?” I hear you shout, and I can ensure you it is none of the places that the Council advertise on their tourist website! Great local attractions such as Riverside Leisure Centre and Norwich Market are on the agenda and these are the best points of the show. Partridge, for me, is at his best when he is showing his quite distasteful personality towards other people, who often react with disgust. However I did feel in this show there wasn’t enough interaction, and Coogan found it slightly difficult to get across Partridge’s bitterness towards anything anyone else does when there were very few people for his to be bitter towards.
There was still lots of classic Partridge one liners though, something Coogan has become famed for, along with his exceptional use of the awkward silence. When talking about his office at North Norfolk Digital radio station Partridge says “At 800 square feet they are bigger than most quality dentists, and could house a Tesco express”. This shows Coogan still has no problem writing the gags for Partridge, even if he is struggling to find scenarios to put him in. The references back to old Partridge shows was a nice nostalgic trip and a clever way to refresh the viewer’s memory of where we had seen him before. Pear Tree Productions popped up once or twice and a phone call to the anonymous Lynn harked back to “I’m Alan Partridge” and worked well fort he purpose they were there.
After watching the show I couldn’t help but feel it could be better in places, and the interaction with other people could have been a little deeper in order to establish a relationship with the other person, but even after this I can’t help being overly excited, like a small child on Christmas eve, that Partridge is back!