George Shaw

Steve Coogan admits he tires of Partridge, spills details on ‘Alpha Papa’

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Steve Coogan confesses that he sometimes grows tired of playing Alan Partridge, likening him to “a relative who you quite like to see now and again but you don’t want to live with.”

Speaking in an interview broadcast on The Jonathan Ross Show last Saturday (20 April), the comedian also revealed more details about the plot of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, which sees Norwich’s favourite son become entangled in a hostage situation.

When asked if he misses Alan Partridge, Coogan admitted that, although he’s still fond of the character, he can get rather tiring, describing it as “like being in a room with an idiot.”

“Whenever I’ve done Alan… [I] work on doing the character quite a lot [and] although Alan’s funny, he is a bit annoying,” he explained.

“It might be alright watching for half an hour, but imagine sitting in a room with him for three months. That’s what you have to do when you write him.”

The man behind the man then attempted to explain why he thinks the character remains so popular. He added:

“I only go back to doing Alan when I want to, not when other people want me to. Because of that we’ve not saturated people with him. People are always pleased to see him. “

Partridge, who was created in collaboration with Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci amongst others for Radio 4 comedy show On The Hour, has become one of Coogan’s most iconic and successful characters.

Since appearing as part of On The Hour, Alan has gone on to host his own radio show, as well as appearing on TV in The Day Today and his own chat show, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge. In 1997, he starred in his own sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, which was followed by a second series in 2002.

The character was given a rebirth when he appeared as part of Steve Coogan’s 2008 stand up tour. More recently Alan could be seen in Mid-Morning Matters with Alan Partridge, an online mini-series created for Fosters, and Sky Atlantic’s Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life.

Coogan was appearing on the ITV chat show to promote his upcoming film, The Look Of Love, in which he plays Paul Raymond, a Soho-based landlord come entertainment supremo. However, the conversation quickly moved to the subject of Alan and his forthcoming feature film.

“It’s all finished [and] we’re editing it right now,” he explained. “We’re trying to take out the unfunny bits and just keep the funny bits. It’s called Alpha Papa [but] I wanted to call it Alan Partridge in Hectic Danger Day.”

Coogan then went on to divulge more details from the plot, which, in an interview for Empire magazine, he described as being “a bit Dog Day Afternoon and a bit Network.”

He added: “Alan is in Norwich and he’s DJing on North Norfolk Digital, but a big horrible company called Gordale Media comes along to take over the radio station, rob it of all its personality and change it from North Norfolk Digital to ‘Shape’.

“Lots of people get sacked and to cut a long story short, there’s a big siege at the radio station, when all the world’s media descend on it, and Alan is at the centre of it as the negotiator between the gunman and the police outside.”

While that plot sounds about as far removed from Michael and his savoury 99 as possible, in a recent interview, director Declan Lowney alleviated any fears that Partridge may have gone all Hollywood on us.

He said: “The notion of Alan being caught up in a hostage situation is outlandish, but how it happens is perfectly believable, Steve strives for stuff to be real, even with all the gags. That said, there’s quite a bit of action. We’ve got violence, guns and heavy kissing.”

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa opens in UK cinemas on 7 August.