I'm Alan Partridge

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I'm Alan Partridge
I'm Alan Partridge.jpg
Title screen, featuring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge, wearing his trademark green blazer (1997)
GenreSitcom
Created byPeter Baynham
Steve Coogan
Armando Iannucci
StarringSteve Coogan
Felicity Montagu
Simon Greenall
Phil Cornwell
Barbara Durkin
Sally Phillips
Amelia Bullmore
James Lance
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Production
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time27-29 minutes (approximately)
Release
Original networkBBC Two
Picture format4:3 Series 1, 16:9 Series 2
Audio formatStereo
Original release3 November 1997 (1997-11-03) – 16 December 2002 (2002-12-16)
Chronology
Preceded byKnowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge
Followed byMid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge
Related showsThe Day Today
External links
Website

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.

A second series followed in 2002,[1] with Partridge now living in a static caravan after recovering from a mental breakdown.[2][3] Iannucci said the writers used the sitcom as "a kind of social X-ray of male middle-aged Middle England."[1] 12 episodes were produced.

Supporting Coogan are Felicity Montagu as his faithful but timid personal assistant, Lynn Benfield; Simon Greenall as Geordie handyman Michael; and Phil Cornwell as Partridge's rival DJ Dave Clifton.

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.

Characters[edit]

Both series[edit]

Alan Partridge (Coogan)[edit]

The main character of the series, Alan Partridge, 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 contempt. Besides dealing with Alan's working-life, Lynn's other duties have included accompanying Alan to visit a show home, buying medicinal powder for Alan's fungal foot infections, and frequently listening patiently to Alan's complaints.

Lynn is a member of a local Baptist church, which Alan finds strange but is willing to tolerate. Her mother is apparently housebound, requiring Lynn 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 workload, Lynn's salary is only £8,000 per year.

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.

Michael (Simon Greenall)[edit]

An all-purpose worker at the Linton Travel Tavern, Michael speaks with a heavy Geordie accent. Michael and Alan have an unequal friendship, as Michael only ever refers to Alan as 'Mr. Partridge'. 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. 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, in which he has left the Linton Travel Tavern and works in a 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.

Series one only[edit]

Susan Foley (Barbara Durkin)[edit]

Susan is the manager of the Linton Travel Tavern. 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 an increasing dislike of Alan as the series progresses, but contains her irritation 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]

Sophie is a recently employed receptionist at the Travel Tavern. She is frequently seen to be suppressing laughter at Alan and often jokes about him behind his back.

Ben (James Lance)[edit]

Ben is another member of staff at the Travel Tavern and Sophie's boyfriend. Alan is jealous of Ben's romance with Sophie and does his best to sabotage their romantic trysts. In later episodes, Alan attempts to forge a friendship with Ben, despite his earlier irritation at Ben's informal manner.

Series two only[edit]

Sonja (Amelia Bullmore)[edit]

Alan's thick-accented Ukrainian girlfriend Sonja, who is fourteen years Alan's junior and possesses a scatterbrained personality, which leads Alan to describe her as 'mildly cretinous'. Easily amused, she delights in practical jokes, and showers Alan with unwanted gifts such as personalised coffee mugs and cushions emblazoned with their faces. She is devoted to Alan, though he demonstrates little affection for her in return, while bragging to others about their age difference and sexual habits.

Reception[edit]

Digital Spy wrote: "the character of Partridge hit his comic peak" in I'm Alan Partridge.[4] Entertainment Weekly described the show as "bleakly hilarious".[5]

Episodes[edit]

12 episodes were produced, spread over two series. Series 1 was first broadcast in November and December 1997, while Series 2 was first broadcast in November and December 2002.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for I'm Alan Partridge
Year Award Category Recipient Result
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

Geography[edit]

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.[6]

Tiptree is mentioned in Radio Norwich's ident even though it lies in the heart of Essex. Felixstowe is also mentioned even though it is in East Suffolk.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Husband, Stuart (5 August 2013). "Alan Partridge: the 'A-ha!' moments". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  2. ^ Keeling, Robert (7 August 2013). "Alan Partridge's top TV moments". Den of Geek. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  3. ^ Heritage, Stuart (4 April 2014). "Alan Partridge: a guide for Americans, newcomers and American newcomers". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  4. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (13 October 2012). "'I'm Alan Partridge': Tube Talk Gold". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  5. ^ Endelman, Michael (27 October 2006). "I'm Alan Partridge: Season 1 | EW.com". EW.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  6. ^ BBC NEWS | England | Partridge character 'damaging' Norfolk

External links[edit]