A-HA! Did the Norwich based Radio DJ actually survive his own movie back in 2013?
On television, ALAN PARTRIDGE remains very much alive. Now in his mid to late 60s (Steve Coogan plays Alan a decade older than himself), he is the star of THIS TIME, a spoof magazine show. There are also podcasts /audiobooks and assorted viral content to maintain the media myth of the man.
And YET..his big movie debut was back in 2013. ALPHA PAPA was a decade in development. A number of pitches were thrown around Hollywood. Alan goes to America was displaced by BORAT. Partridge v ISIS was deemed a tad too dark and also, once again, beaten to the movies by FOUR LIONS.
A compromise was reached. Hostage situation, yes. But small scale and played for laughs. Nothing too serious, controversial, dark or out of Alan’s true patch (UK, Norwich/Norfolk Digital). There was talk of making a James Bond style cold open. But even that was dispensed with. What we ended up with was a tight, funny, insightful, well crafted piece of comedy film. ALPHA PAPA captures the spirit of Partridge’s television exploits, whilst opening the format and content in a measured manner.
But did the character actually survive the ending? It’s a BIT ambiguous. Consider the following:
- ALPHA PAPA ends with the song ‘The Number One song in Heaven’. IE: Has Alan actually died and gone to said afterlife?
- Alan now has his own show on the BBC. In essence? That IS Heaven to Partridge. Impossibly perfect ambition, realised?
- Though largely light and comedic, ALPHA PAPA does have its dark undertones and surreal qualities.
- Alan is shot, no question. And wounded, even? He feels cold. And Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) meant business.
- There is plenty of religious foreshadowing in the film. Alan arguably finds God in this one?
- Comedy characters can and indeed do, die. Frequently, in fact. Blackadder! Kenny from South Park. Etc.
- The character arguably came full circle in the movie. Nowhere left to ‘go’?
- THIS TIME WITH ALAN PARTRIDGE has moments of brilliance, sure. BUT:..
- ..ALPHA PAPA was the last time that Coogan /Partridge provided a laugh a second.
CONCLUSION: PARTRIDGE IS ALIVE! But his character, brand and line in situation comedy will need a tweak in time to keep the myth going. If you want his adventures to finish at ALPHA PAPA, then there is a case for holding that belief. In any event, meantime, real world presenter, RICHARD MADELEY is more than adequate as a substitute.
THIS PIECE IS DEDICATED TO STEVE COOGAN. HE IS STILL ALIVE. AND WELL. AND CURRENTLY PLAYING ROLF HARRIS IN A NEW BBCDOCU-DRAMA.
NO ACTUAL ALANS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS BLOG PIECE THING.
A GOOD BEAT’S A GOOD BEAT.
NB: satire box was ticked, just in case 😉