TV: This Time With Alan Partridge

Available now in Australia on ABC iView.

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Steve Coogan’s character “Alan Partridge” may not be the longest-running comic creation of all time, but I bet he’s up there for crossing the most genres. He was born on the BBC4 comedic radio program On The Hour, moved into the ensemble of television news spoof The Day Today, then took on his own (fake) chat show, Knowing Me Knowing You in 1995. In 1997, and again in 2002, he was the centre of a one-camera half-hour sitcom, I’m Alan Partridge. In 2010 he returned in a series of webisodes called Mid Morning Matters and in 2012 there was an hour-long mockumentary / travelogue called Welcome to the Places of My Life. In 2013 he made it to the big screen in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

All of these are worth checking out. Indeed, they’re bloody hilarious, and Alan Partridge, for me and millions of others, is one of the great comic creations, played by one of the great comedic actors. He’s way too intricate to be described pithily, but it’s safe to say he’s now in his mid-fifties and remains parochial, conservative, extremely “British”, self-important but insecure, arrogant and occasionally aggressive. There are media personalities all over the world just like him, including more than a few in Australia.

His new six part series, This Time With Alan Partridge, sees him first be a guest host, then become a regular, on a British light infotainment show, This Time, essentially a spoof of the British staple The One Show. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen it. Australia has plenty like it. This is once again satire of the absolute highest standard. If you like Partridge you’ll already be watching. If you’re new to Alan’s hideous charms, dive in. It’s comic brilliance.