Jonathan Melville: Welcome addition to Patridge family

Steve Coogan. Pic: Comp
Steve Coogan. Pic: Comp
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It’s only taken 20 years, but Alan Partridge has finally made the jump from the small screen to the big screen in Alpha Papa.

Or rather, from the radio to the small screen, over to the internet, back to the small screen and then over to the big screen.

It’s been a long journey for Alan and his creator, Steve Coogan, as his stints on Radio 4’s On the Hour in the early 1990s started to build a following for Norwich’s most famous son.

I first encountered Alan via BBC Two’s spoof news show, The Day Today, before he was spun-off into his own show, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge. Since then we’ve had irregular bouts of Partridge over the years, interspersed with the odd gap as Coogan attempted other roles.

Alpha Papa was always going to be a risky venture, with film versions of TV shows rarely capturing the original magic when stretched out to a feature-

length format.

Rather than sending Alan off abroad, as in previous adaptations of British sitcoms, Alpha Papa keeps him on home turf in Norwich, where he’s working at a local radio station.

When one of Alan’s colleagues, Pat (Colm Meaney), is sacked thanks to the former’s intervention, a hostage situation occurs and Partridge is seen as the best man to help end the stand-off.

Things don’t get much more complicated than that, but it’s enough to offer fans some vintage Alan moments and some more insights into the occasionally unsettling mind of a classic comic creation.

It’s impossible to know where Coogan will take his alter ego next, but hopefully it won’t be too long before he’s exploring new situations in a web series, TV special or film.