I'm Alan Partridge
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I'm Alan Partridge is a 1997 BBC situation comedy starring Steve Coogan and written by Coogan, Peter Baynham and Armando Iannucci. It features Alan Partridge, a tactless and inept radio DJ, after he has been left by his wife and dropped from the BBC. The show follows Partridge as he lives in a roadside hotel, presents a graveyard slot on Norwich local radio, and desperately pitches ideas for new television shows.
|I'm Alan Partridge|
Title screen, featuring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge, wearing his trademark green blazer (1997)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||12 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||27-29 minutes (approximately)|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Picture format||4:3 Series 1, 16:9 Series 2|
|Original release||3 November 1997– 16 December 2002|
|Preceded by||Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge|
|Followed by||Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge|
|Related shows||The Day Today|
A second series followed in 2002, with Partridge now living in a static caravan after recovering from a mental breakdown. Iannucci said the writers used the sitcom as "a kind of social X-ray of male middle-aged Middle England." 12 episodes were produced.
The series was nominated for three BAFTAs (winning two), two British Comedy Awards (winning both), and a Royal Television Society award. In a list drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted by industry professionals, I'm Alan Partridge was named the 38th best British television series of all time.
Alan Partridge (Coogan)Edit
The main character of the series, Alan, a former host on Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge on BBC television, was dismissed from the BBC partly for punching Chief Commissioning Editor Tony Hayers in the face with a stuffed partridge and partly because his programmes were of a low standard, delivering ever-declining ratings. In series one he is divorced from his wife Carol, lives in the Linton Travel Tavern and is reduced to working the graveyard shift on Radio Norwich whilst desperately trying to get back on television in any capacity.
By series two, following an off-screen mental breakdown, Alan's career is on an upswing - in particular, his Radio Norwich show has been moved to a more prestigious evening slot. Besides this, he hosts a military-based quiz show on digital television (on fictional channel UK Conquest, which has the highest audience share for any programme "at that time of day in the Norfolk area"), he has published his autobiography, and he has a girlfriend named Sonja, who lives with him in a static caravan next to the dream house he is having built.
In both series Alan is shown to be generally loathsome and narcissistic, with very poor social skills and a largely empty personal life.
Lynn Benfield (Montagu)Edit
Alan's hard-working, long-suffering, personal assistant, Lynn appears to run Alan's life to such an extent that he cannot survive without her organisational skills; despite this, he usually treats her with little more than contempt. Besides dealing with Alan's working-life, Lynn's other duties range from the banal to the truly ridiculous — accompanying Alan to visit a show home, buying medicinal powder for Alan's fungal foot infections, cooling Alan with a hand-fan, and frequently listening patiently to Alan's pointless conversations and endless whining.
Lynn is a member of a local Baptist church, which Alan finds strange but is willing to tolerate. Her mother, with whom Lynn possibly lives, is apparently housebound, but Lynn seems able to balance her life between looking after her mother's affairs and those of Alan. When accompanying Alan, Lynn appears inhibited by him, but seems capable of easily blending into social situations when Alan is not present. Despite her intense and frequently ludicrous workload, Lynn receives a paltry £8,000 per year, due to Alan's greedy penny-pinching.
By the second series, her mother has died, and Lynn finds romance with a fellow churchgoer, a retired policeman. At the celebration following her church baptism, she is shown to have many friends and is held in high regard by other church members - in stark contrast to Alan's lonely existence.
Michael (Simon Greenall)Edit
An all-purpose worker at the Linton Travel Tavern, Michael speaks with a heavy Geordie accent, which Alan barely understands (or claims not to) and, being Alan, never fails to demand clarification. Michael is arguably Alan's only friend, and Alan is glad of his presence when he needs to have a heart-to-heart or, more often, inane chat; their friendship is clearly not on an even basis, however, as Michael only ever refers to Alan as 'Mr. Partridge' and Alan clearly regards Michael with a great deal of disdain. Michael is almost as desperate and neurotic a character as Alan, and is very emotionally disturbed (shown most clearly when Alan looks out of his room window to see Michael tearing at his hair in a state of some distress).
Michael frequently tells stories of his time in the British army, to the delight of Alan, especially if they are of a salacious or violent nature. During a period of military placement in the Philippines, Michael married a Filipino woman, and the two moved back to Michael's native Newcastle upon Tyne. However, his wife left him and now lives with his brother in Sunderland, possibly shedding light on the origins of Michael's neuroticism. In the last episode of the first series, Michael appears at Alan's party already drunk on Scrumpy Jack and proceeds to insult the other guests.
He is also a recurring character in the second series of I'm Alan Partridge, where he has left the Linton Travel Tavern and now works in a BP petrol station.
Dave Clifton (Cornwell)Edit
Dave is a Radio Norwich DJ who in the first series runs The Breakfast Show the prestigious drive time programme scheduled right after Alan's "graveyard slot" show. During the handover every morning, Alan always tries to engage in witty banter with Dave, but their chatting fails to disguise the bitter rivalry between them. Dave is an alcoholic and has a driving ban, according to Alan. Much to Alan's surprise and chagrin, Dave is a friend of Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley.
Dave also appears in the second series, in which his fortunes are shown to have declined just as Alan's have improved. Clifton now works the graveyard shift (after Alan's more prestigious evening shift) and appears to have resumed drinking. Though he sometimes gets the better of Alan in their exchanges, usually Alan, as he would put it, "has the last laugh".
Series one onlyEdit
Susan Foley (Barbara Durkin)Edit
The manager of the Linton Travel Tavern, Susan appears to be a stereotypical front-desk worker, with a dazzling smile and sickly sweet manner. However, even these forced skills are not enough to deal with Alan's clumsy, half-hearted flirting and mindless anecdotes. Alan frequently makes tactless comments to Susan about her appearance (once suggesting to her that she "could have been throwing up all night" but that her smile would not falter). In reaction to these comments, Susan's painted-on smile is sometimes momentarily replaced by a look of shock and bemusement.
Susan displays a general dislike of Alan, becoming increasingly bored with his feeble attempts at conversation as the series progresses, and at one stage being terrified by Alan's poorly planned practical joke in which he dresses as a zombie and creeps up on her at reception. Nevertheless, she never says a harsh word to Alan—at least, until the end of the last episode, in which she finally tells Alan what she thinks of him at his leaving party.
Sophie (Sally Phillips)Edit
Twenty-seven years old, Sophie is a recently employed receptionist at the Travel Tavern. Sophie is also rarely without a smile; however, in her case it is normally because she is suppressing a laugh over Alan's antics. While Susan brushes off Alan's social faux pas with a smile, Sophie is rarely able to control her laughter at Alan's odd behaviour (such as mimicking washing himself in the shower with two bars of soap in front of her at reception) and often has to turn away to avoid laughing in his face. Much to Alan's annoyance, he is sometimes aware that Sophie often jokes about him behind his back.
Ben (James Lance)Edit
Ben is another member of staff at the Travel Tavern and Sophie's 22-year-old boyfriend. Alan is jealous of Ben's romance with Sophie, confused by the fact that she is five years older than Ben, and does his best to sabotage their romantic trysts, most notably looking out of his room's window to see them sneaking around the back of the building to have sex. In later episodes, Alan attempts to forge a friendship with Ben, despite Alan's earlier irritation at Ben's informal and somewhat laid-back manner. Predictably, Alan's attempts to befriend Ben are clumsy and unsuccessful.
Series two onlyEdit
Sonja (Amelia Bullmore)Edit
Alan's thick-accented Ukrainian girlfriend Sonja, who is fourteen years Alan's junior and possesses a very excitable and scatterbrained personality, which leads Alan to describe her as 'mildly cretinous'. Easily amused, she delights in pulling lame practical jokes and showering Alan with cheap (and unwanted) gifts such as London souvenirs and personalised coffee mugs and cushions emblazoned with their faces. She is very devoted to Alan and clearly treasures him, although he demonstrates little genuine affection for her in return and clearly bases their relationship around the ego-boost produced by their age difference and the sex.
12 episodes were produced, spread over 2 series. Series 1 was first broadcast in November/December 1997, while Series 2 was first broadcast in November/December 2002.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1998||British Academy Television Awards||Best Comedy (Programme or Series)||Armando Iannucci, Dominic Brigstocke, Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan||Won|
|Best Comedy Performance||Steve Coogan||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Best TV Comedy Actor||Steve Coogan||Won|
|Best TV Sitcom||I'm Alan Partridge||Won|
|Royal Television Society Television Awards||Best Situation Comedy or Comedy Drama||Talkback Productions||Nominated|
|2003||British Academy Television Awards||Best Comedy Performance||Steve Coogan||Nominated|
|British Comedy Awards||Best TV Comedy||I'm Alan Partridge||Nominated|
|Best TV Comedy Actor||Steve Coogan||Won|
|Best TV Comedy Actress||Felicity Montagu||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Television Awards||Best Comedy Performance||Steve Coogan||Nominated|
All the places mentioned in I'm Alan Partridge are real locations in the East of England.
Linton and Longstanton are in Cambridgeshire, though neither has a Travel Tavern or a spice museum. Exterior shots of the Linton Travel Tavern were filmed at the Hilton Hotel on Elton Way in Watford, Hertfordshire.
Spalding, Pinchbeck and Holbeach are in Lincolnshire; Swaffham is a market town in Norfolk, Spixworth and Hemsby are real Norfolk villages that feature in the show as the home location of phone-in guests. Sprowston, a real village just outside Norwich, is mentioned in the episode "Never Say Alan Again" in a conversation with John, Alan's builder.
The (Great) Ouse and the Waveney are major rivers, as referenced in Radio Norwich's ident. Linton really is equidistant between London and Norwich (about 59 mi (95 km) in each direction). Due to the coverage, a number of Norfolk residents are not happy with the association. Also, the registration plate on one of Alan's Rover cars (P543 PEX) shows that the car was registered in Norwich.
- Husband, Stuart (5 August 2013). "Alan Partridge: the 'A-ha!' moments". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Keeling, Robert (7 August 2013). "Alan Partridge's top TV moments". Den of Geek. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Heritage, Stuart (4 April 2014). "Alan Partridge: a guide for Americans, newcomers and American newcomers". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- Jeffery, Morgan (13 October 2012). "'I'm Alan Partridge': Tube Talk Gold". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- Endelman, Michael (27 October 2006). "I'm Alan Partridge: Season 1 | EW.com". EW.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- BBC NEWS | England | Partridge character 'damaging' Norfolk