Over 20 years after the introduction of Alan Partridge on the On The Hour show on Radio 4 in 1991 we are presented with an hour and a half of Coogan brilliance on the big screen. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the plot considering the posters and trailers made the movie out to be a action hero movie with Partridge at the centre. I questioned how this would work. But I assure you, it definitely does. Alan Partridge: the unlikely action figure.
The narrative is simple enough so that the focus is on the endearing title character yet action-packed enough that it never gets boring. The way the movie gently parodies the radio characters we have all become so used to over the years is brilliant. The exurberant and obnoxious breakfast show host and the party-going junkie oldie on the graveyard shift. The writers have captured these perfectly.
Alan acts as a mediator for the police as fellow disc jockey Pat Farrell (brilliantly performed by Colm Meaney) fires up a siege at the local radio station, the newly taken over North Norfolk Digital. Naturally Partridge gets immersed into the potential career boosting opportunity the siege provides and attempts to utilise it for his own personal gain. We see examples of Partridge in his element, the radio studio, alongside his assistant, Sidekick Steve played by the fabulous actor and poet, Tim Key.
As will all of Coogan’s work it is the dialogue that is the movies trump card. It is evident that the writing team have spent less time on the soul-crushingly embarrassing scenes we are used to in Knowing Me, Knowing You (well, apart from one extremely funny, very visual, scene involving Alan’s trousers) and more time on the fantastic humour of the dialogue. The perfectly timed jokes filtered through classic Partridge humour lead to many a belly laugh in the cinema screening.
The character of Alan Partridge doesn’t need to leave the country for the transference from small-screen to big-screen to work, unlike many other television to movie projects, such as The Inbetweeners Movie. The intense localness of Alpha Papa makes it all the more endearing. The reason Alan Partridge is still as widely loved is down to Steve Coogan’s complete emersion into Partridge.
Over 20 years Coogan has grown alongside Partridge and has completely mastered the character. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a delight for fans new and old.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013), directed by Declan Lowney, is released in UK cinemas by StudioCanal, Certificate 15.