Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (released as Alan Partridge in the United States) is a 2013 British action comedy film starring Steve Coogan reprising his role as Alan Partridge, a fictional presenter he has played on various BBC radio and television shows since 1991, and Colm Meaney as Pat Farrell. The film was directed by Declan Lowney and written by Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Peter Baynham and Neil and Rob Gibbons. Principal photography began on 7 January 2013 in Norwich and Mitcham, and the film premiered on 24 July 2013.
|Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa|
UK theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Declan Lowney|
|Produced by||Kevin Loader|
|Screenplay by||Neil Gibbons|
by Steve Coogan
|Music by||Ilan Eshkeri|
|Edited by||Mark Everson|
|Distributed by||StudioCanal UK|
|Box office||$9.8 million|
The film was released in Great Britain and Ireland on 7 August 2013 by StudioCanal UK, where it opened at number one in the box office. Magnolia Pictures distributed the film in the United States. The film received a positive reception and grossed $9.8 million on a £4 million budget. It also received a Grand Marnier Fellowship Award nomination for Best Film. A book of the screenplay was published on 21 November 2013.
Norwich radio station North Norfolk Digital is bought out by a multinational conglomerate, with staff members facing redundancies. DJ Alan Partridge is not concerned, but fellow DJ Pat Farrell convinces him to gatecrash a board meeting to persuade the new owners not to fire Pat. When Alan discovers that either he or Pat must go, he urges them to fire Pat, and writes "JUST SACK PAT" on the room's flip chart.
During a company party, Pat enters the station with a shotgun and holds the staff hostage, demanding his job back. The police enlist Alan as a negotiator, and he builds an uneasy rapport with Pat; with Alan's co-presenter Sidekick Simon, the three host a radio show during the siege. Alan daydreams of ending the siege heroically, but cannot bring himself to grab Pat's gun. As the siege becomes national news, Alan's ego swells and he shares a kiss with his colleague Angela.
Alan accidentally locks himself out of the building and loses his trousers trying to get back in through a window. The police realise he is an ineffective negotiator and send in an undercover officer disguised as a pizza delivery man. Alan interrupts and takes the pizzas in himself. When Pat discovers a taser in one of the boxes, an argument erupts between the hostages and the police burst in. Pat escapes in the station's tour bus, taking Alan and security guard Michael.
On the bus, Alan regains Pat's trust and they continue to host the radio show. However, Pat sees Alan's "JUST SACK PAT" message in a photo and deduces that Alan was behind his redundancy. Alan hides in the bus toilet compartment and escapes in the septic tank.
On Cromer Pier, Pat faces off with Alan and the police. Michael tries to distract Pat by throwing himself off the pier; he is never seen again. Pat tells Alan that he is depressed due to the death of his wife and prepares to shoot himself. Unable to pull the trigger, he gives his shotgun to Alan, who throws it aside. The gun goes off, shooting Alan in the leg; he is then shot again by a police sniper reacting to gunfire. Alan assumes he is dying, but a paramedic assures him he will be fine.
Alan returns to North Norfolk Digital with Sidekick Simon and Pat calls the show from jail. Alan goes on holiday with Angela and her sons.
Several characters from I'm Alan Partridge make appearances in the film. Alongside Steve Coogan, as the title character, there are his put-upon personal assistant Lynn Benfield (Felicity Montagu), Phil Cornwell's rival DJ Dave Clifton, and Simon Greenall as Alan's troubled Geordie friend Michael. Comedian and poet Tim Key reprises his role as Sidekick Simon from the Mid Morning Matters series, while Colm Meaney, who shares billing alongside Coogan in publicity for the film, stars as Pat Farrell.
- Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge
- Colm Meaney as Pat Farrell
- Felicity Montagu as Lynn Benfield
- Simon Greenall as Michael
- Sean Pertwee as Steve Stubbs, a Specialist Firearms Officer
- Anna Maxwell Martin as Acting Chief Constable Janet Whitehead
- Darren Boyd as Detective Sergeant Martin Fitch, a negotiator from Scotland Yard
- Nigel Lindsay as Jason Cresswell
- Karl Theobald as Greg Frampton
- Simon Delaney as Don
- Monica Dolan as Angela Ashbourne
- Tim Key as "Sidekick" Simon Denton
- Paul Blackwell as Police Officer
- Phil Cornwell as Dave Clifton
- Simon Kunz as Conner Scott
- Darren Deans as Radio Station Voiceover
Alan Partridge, portrayed by Steve Coogan, was created in 1991 for the radio show On the Hour by Coogan, Armando Iannucci, and Patrick Marber, with input from writers Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. The character is an egotistical television presenter and radio announcer, whose presenting style is a parody of cliched media reporting or presentation.
Rumours about an Alan Partridge film began in August 2004, when a small piece appeared in The Metro newspaper which claimed Coogan had been given the green light from a US studio for a Partridge film. Coogan reportedly said: "It's always been my plan to make Alan go global. It's what he lives for really, not just doing the show on Radio Norwich." In April 2005, Coogan's production firm Baby Cow announced that an Alan Partridge movie was in the pipeline. It was later revealed the film would involve an al-Qaeda siege, but due to the sensitivities of such a storyline after the July 2005 London bombings, the project was put on hold. Playwright Patrick Marber, whose early collaborations with Coogan included The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge, had also been working on the script, while actress Felicity Montagu, who plays Partridge's personal assistant Lynn, also confirmed that there had been discussions about the film.
Further details of the film were released in November 2007. The plot of the film involved Alan Partridge attempting another comeback from local radio, only to have his ambitions thwarted when Middle Eastern terrorists hijack the BBC offices. Coogan had written some dialogue, but at the time he was uncertain of whether he wanted to revisit Partridge. In 2010, Armando Iannucci confirmed that a film was definitely in the works, as well as announcing that the film would not be based on Partridge travelling to the United States: "Steve and I have agreed a story for the film. It's NOT Alan goes to America." Meanwhile, the character was revived for a web series Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge, as well as two one-off specials produced for Sky Atlantic.
In 2012, Iannucci stated that the as-yet-untitled film was in pre-production and would be shooting later in the year for a 2013 UK release, and would be directed by Declan Lowney of Father Ted fame. The film is a co-production between Baby Cow Productions, BBC Films, the BFI Film Fund, and StudioCanal. The film had a budget of £4 million. It was released in the UK by StudioCanal. In March 2013, a teaser trailer for the film revealed the title to be Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
- "Koyaanisqatsi" – Performed by Philip Glass Ensemble
- "Roxanne" – Performed by The Police
- "Škoda lásky" aka "Beer Barrel Polka" – Written by Jaromir Vejvoda and Vasek Zeman
- "Cuddly Toy" – Performed by Roachford
- "Couldn't Get It Right" – Performed by Climax Blues Band
- "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" – Performed by Chicago
- "Bounce" – Written and performed by Calvin Harris
- "Swede Love" – Performed by Jakob Liedholm
- "I Want You to Know" – Performed by jACQ and Passion Victim
- "Wide Eyed and Legless" – Performed by Andy Fairweather Low
- "Pop Goes Bach" – Performed by Sam Fonteyn
- "Wichita Lineman" – Performed by Glen Campbell
- "Swinging Low" – Performed by The Outlaws
- "Sky News Toth" – Performed by Adelphoi Music
- "Always on My Mind" – Performed by Willie Nelson
- "BBC News Theme" – Performed by David Lowe
- "Enola Gay" – Performed by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
- "Let's Stick Together" – Performed by Bryan Ferry
- "The Number One Song in Heaven" – Performed by Sparks
- "All The Wrong Places" – Performed by Example
- "You're the Voice" – Performed by John Farnham
After a campaign named "Anglia Square not Leicester Square" the world premiere was held in Anglia Square, Norwich on 24 July 2013 with Steve Coogan appearing in character. Steve Coogan greeted fans at Anglia Square before being whisked away by helicopter to London to attend a full premiere in Leicester Square. In its opening weekend, the film grossed £2.18 million at the UK box office, beating Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and Grown Ups 2 for the number one spot. As of 22 September 2013, Alpha Papa had grossed a total of £6.12 million at the UK Box Office. It was released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 2 December 2013.
The film received a positive reception. It currently holds an 86% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 102 reviews, with an average score of 7/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The Alan Partridge movie ditches the TV series' nuanced humor for something broader, and succeeds in presenting the character on a global scale." It also holds a Metacritic score of 66 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews". James Mottram, who reviewed the film for Total Film, gave the film four stars out of five, saying "Smartly executed, endlessly quotable and machine-gun quick, this is one of the funniest films of 2013."
Empire's Dan Jolin awarded the film an "excellent" four stars out of five, stating "it provides a masterclass in physical character comedy courtesy of the Alan himself... Ruddy hilarious. Just what big-screen comedy needed." Chris Tilly, who reviewed the film for IGN, gave the film 8.5 out of 10, saying "It's not easy to take a beloved TV character and replicate their success on film...But Steve Coogan and co have nailed it with the first Alan Partridge movie, a gloriously entertaining comedy that resembles a Hollywood blockbuster...while at the same time staying true to the roots of the character." Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph gave the film a mixed review. He said, in a three out of five star review, that "Alpha Papa allows Alan Partridge to dream big – or biggish, anyway – for the first time in the character’s 21-year history. But since when was he the man of our dreams?"
- Chicago International Film Festival 2013
|Audience Choice Award||Declan Lowney||Nominated|
- Empire Awards, UK 2014
|Empire Award||Best Comedy||Won|
|Best British Film||Nominated|
- Golden Trailer Awards 2014
|Golden Trailer||Best Foreign Comedy Trailer||Magnolia and Zealot Productions||Nominated|
- Guardian Film Awards, UK 2014
|Guardian Film Award||Best Marketing Campaign and Best Scene Alan Partridge lip-synching to Roachford.||Nominated|
- London Critics Circle Film Awards 2014
|ALFS Award||British Actor of the Year||Steve Coogan For The Look of Love, Philomena and What Maisie Knew||Nominated|
- New York Film Festival 2013
|Grand Marnier Fellowship Award||Best Film||Declan Lowney||Nominated|
A book of the screenplay, titled Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Script and Scrapped, which includes stage directions, material that did not find its way into the film, a foreword by Steve Coogan and notes by the film's writers, was published by HarperCollins on 21 November 2013.
On 4 April 2014 it was reported that a sequel is in the works. No details as to the plot or release date have yet been released.
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