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When I first heard that Steve Coogan was planning on taking his comedy character Alan Partridge to the big screen, I was apprehensive to say the least. I have grown up with Alan and found him always to be the funniest character on TV. With this news he was headed to the silver screen, I thought this would be it, this would be the moment Alan was lost on me.
You just have to look historically at television characters who have tried it before. Inspector Gadget, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Thunderbirds – all equally terrible movies that almost destroyed the TV show they’re based on. Thankfully, Alan Partridge remains as hilarious as ever.
When North Norfolk Digital is bought out by major players Gordale Media, there are changes afoot. With two aging disc-jocks on the books in Partridge (Steve Coogan) and Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney), Gordale Media decide one of them has to go. Farrell convinces Partridge to go save their careers but instead he tries to better his position and ends up getting Farrell fired.
At the launch party for the stations rebranding, Farrell turns up with a shotgun and takes the station hostage, he agrees to only speak to one man, Alan Partridge. Alan becomes the face of the siege and starts to see his career returning when his face begins appearing all over the news and some long time fans re-appear at the station to cheer him on.
All of the Partridge humour is here, from the slip of the tongues to ridiculous chat (“what is the worst monger? Iron, Fish, Rumour or War?”), fantasy sequences and the slightest of facial expressions will all send the audience into hysterics. There wasn’t one gag in the entire film that didn’t entice laughter from the viewers.
It’s not only a comedy movie, it’s an action film, it’s a thriller. It comes with a fantastic soundtrack that even has the cast singing along to. Alan may have been around for nearly twenty years, but Alpha Papa is still as fresh as ever. Coogan knows what he’s doing. Over the years we’ve seen Alan grow from sports reporter to chat show host and his eventual demise until he is reborn at North Norfok Digital. That’s not just a story line, that’s reinventing the character, that’s keeping him up to date with the world around him and that is what makes Alpha Papa one of the best British Comedy Films to date.
Ending with a suspenseful chase sequence and his fifteen minutes of fame over, people are asking what next from Alan Partridge? Will he make another return to the silver screen, television or live appearances? If Alpha Papa succeeds then OAP’s career might be reinvigorated. No matter what, he hasn’t lost it, I don’t care what anyone says. Needless to say, Alan has the last laugh.