Although he’s been around for about two decades, I didn’t really know much about Alan Partridge, the radio dj invented and played with conviction by Steve Coogan. I only knew he was crassly smug and self-satisfied, one of those dreadful early morning broadcast types who smile when they talk, and who fill the silences with complete inanity (“So who is the worst ‘monger’: fish, iron, rumour or war?”) However, I did know Alan Partridge worked at Radio Norfolk Digital, and that the feature film Alan Partridge Alpha Papa was shot in part on the North Norfolk coast and that was enough for me to be interested.
In the movie, Radio Norfolk Digital’s been taken over by some slick restructuring corporate types, resulting in the dismissal of Pat, one of the older, underperforming djs. Still mourning the death of this wife, Pat loses it, storms the station with a shotgun and takes everyone hostage. Alan’s outside the building at the time, and he’s therefore asked to become the gp-between between Pat and the police during the stand-off – which finally gives Alan the chance to get back on the telly and be the hero.
Not really knowing anything about the characters or how they fitted together, I took it at face value and quite enjoyed it. It’s amusing if not quite hilarious throughout – though some of the one liners actually made me snort with laughter. I wished there’d been more shot on location. Cromer looked lovely (cold, but lovely) on film – particularly in the finale on Cromer Pier. But perhaps with the familiar locations and a movie populated by the phony Bruce Forsythe and Bob Monkhouse and Keith Chegwin types of yesteryear, it just reminded me too much of my youth, and a time and place I couldn’t wait to get away from. But that’s just me; it’s otherwise worth a squizz.