I suppose Alan Partridge is the, uh, albatross round Steve Coogan’s neck.
I’ve felt Coogan has struggled very hard at times to distance himself from his most celebrated creation, and not always successfully. From the range of characters he presented in Coogan’s Run – his first attempt to extend his repertoire after the success of Knowing Me Knowing You – the most memorable was regional salesman Gareth Cheeseman (best line: “A wank, I think”), who really felt like a riff on Partridge.
Tony Ferrino, The Parole Office and Dr Terrible’s House Of Horror were all equally unsuccessful attempts to move Coogan’s career out of Norwich’s finest Travelodges. Critically, they just weren’t funny. It was only really when he worked with Michael Winterbottom for the first time, in 24 Hour Party People, that Coogan found a way to move forward – A Cock And Bull Story, Saxondale, The Trip, and even his erratic American movie career gradually begin to develop. Coogan has seemed a little more relaxed about Partridge – tellingly, he called his first live stage tour in 10 years, Steve Coogan Live: As Alan Partridge and Other Less Successful Characters.
Recently, of course, Coogan’s resurrected Partridge for a series of short online episodes – Mid-Morning Matters – which found him reduced to presenting on North Norfolk Digital. An autobiography followed, a Sky series and now, 23 years after he made his debut on Radio 4’s On The Hour, the Alan Partridge movie is almost upon us.
But what will it be called? The Norfolk Factor? Hectic Danger Day? Chap Of Steel?
Watch the trailer below and find out…
The Alan Partridge film opens in the UK on August 7.