Norwich's downtrodden television presenter, sports reporter and disc jockey.
"Those of you who know me from the world of sport will know that I like having a bit of a chat with brawny men on the rugby field and, er, having a bit of a chat with the soft fair waif-like moist creatures who you find in ladies' sports."
Since his first public appearance as the sports reporter for On The Hour and later The Day Today, Alan Partridge has travelled a career path that resembles a slow, downward spiral, proving himself to be hopelessly insipid at every job he has turned his hand to. To be fair, he has tried but, if I was to be writing his school report, just not hard enough. His main problem, it seems, is that he's the hapless victim of living in a world populated by people he just doesn't like.
His first major big break came in 1994 when his Radio 4-based chat show, Knowing Me, Knowing You, was developed for television and boasted a big-name guest in the guise of Roger Moore for the first episode. Roger never showed up, leaving him to face the criticisms of his three previous guests whom he had already managed to anger beyond belief. From there on in, over six episodes things went from bad to worse, culminating with him accidentally shooting one of his guests with an antique pistol and being led off during the end credits to 'help the police with their enquiries'.
Surprisingly, he was allowed back to his chat show format for a one-off Christmas episode in 1995 which was as disastrous in its execution as his previous series, losing his temper with a double entendre-spouting transvestite chef and punching the BBC's Head of Programming, Tony Hayers. Tragically, despite its utter, inhumane level of failure, Knowing Me, Knowing You still stands as being the high-point of his career to date.
"Listen, you’ve upset half the farmers in this community. You seem to alienate everybody you come across, including, I gather, your wife, which is why you end up living like some bloody tramp in a lay-by."
- Peter Baxendale Thomas, I'm Alan Partridge
The next time we were to see Alan was in 1997 with the sitcom I'm Alan Partridge. His wife had left him for a fitness instructor and he was living in a travel tavern while desperately trying to rebuild his shattered television career and hosting Up With The Partridge, the pre-Breakfast Show graveyard slot on Radio Norwich.
Assisted by his heavily put-upon PA Lynne, he continued to prove his ability to turn anything that shows the slightest possibility of going wrong into a disaster area with many, many casualties. He shoved cheese in the face of Tony Hayers, became public enemy numero one for Norfolk's farming community, almost gave an old woman a heart attack in a public presentation that also offended the Irish and told his fellow deejay to fuck off live on air. Again, lasting the standard British comedy season of just six episodes it was a catalogue of beautifully-choreographed failure and remains a classic on a par with - dare I say it and I think I dare - Fawlty Towers.
Alan was created and performed by Steve Coogan and was rated seventh in Channel 4's 100 Greatest TV Characters in May, 2001.
Another, possibly final series is planned for late 2002. The second series of I'm Alan Partridge began on 11th November, 2002, Alan has moved from the travel tavern, he has a drive-time slot on Radio Norwich and a military-based cable TV quiz show called Skirmish. What transpires over the next five Monday nights is anybody's guess but once it's over I'll probably drag this write-up in for a re-write.
alan's career at a glance
1997: I'm Alan Partidge BBC2
1994: Knowing Me, Knowing You Radio 4 and BBC2
1994: The Day Today BBC2
1992: On The Hour Radio 4
Alan also appeared in various skits for Comic Relief, presented the award for Best Video in the 1998 Brit Awards, sang a duet with Elton John in the 2000 Comedy Awards and, for the Steve Coogan live tour and video Steve Coogan: The Man Who Thinks He's It, gave a presentation originally for Amstrad entitled 'Lessons In Life Management'.