Cape Town - Alan Partridge returns to screens to mark the 25th anniversary of his BBC debut. His creator has slipped into his skin one more time to present the magazine show This Time.
Here are seven conundrums about Alan that really needed solving.
1. Wait, what do you mean "slipped into his skin"?!
Alan Partridge isn’t real. He started out as a character played by Steve Coogan on the radio programme On the Hour, then moved to TV, where he hosted Knowing Me, Knowing You Aha. Which quickly became the ABBA-loving Alan’s catchphrase.
2. So when you say I’ll LOL, you mean if I like catchphrase comedy like Little Britain?
No. "Aha!" became a sort of albatross around Alan’s neck after the BBC cancelled Knowing Me, Knowing You when he killed a guest on air. Alan now only uses it when he needs to remind people of his brief heyday.
3. Wait, you said he wasn’t real.
Pay attention. Knowing Me, Knowing You was a parody of a chat show. We also saw Alan in I’m Alan Partridge years ago on what was then BBC Prime. That series went behind the scenes into Alan’s life after he fell from grace.
4. Sounds real to me
That’s testament to his creator, who has really brought this character to life. Steve Coogan hasn’t won six BAFTAs for performing and writing for nothing. He’s also beloved by many notable comedians, including frat-packers Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Anyway, I’m Alan Partridge was more of a traditional sitcom. Since then, Alan has appeared in a web series, a film (Alpha Papa) and several mockumentaries.
5. Alan’s a spoof then?
Kind of. Steve uses the tactless Alan to take the proverbial mickey out of parochial little Englanders who tend to run wild with their opinions on the BBC. Think Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Madeley.
6. So he’s taking a "mickey" on his own doorstep?
It’s all in good fun though. Steve has portrayed Alan for nearly 30 years and worked on the BBC throughout his career. The character is as famous as Basil Fawlty.
7. What’s Alan/Steve doing This Time?
This Time parodies magazine shows. With the sheer variety of topics covered, striking the right tone would be dizzyingly hard even for a skilled presenter. And, as you’ll soon find out, despite his staying power, Alan Partridge is no skilled presenter. Cue the LOLs!
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
Catch This Time with Alan Partridge on Friday 21 June on BBC Brit (DStv 120) at 20:00.