I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
It would have been very tempting to stop making Alan Partridge for TV after the success of the movie. Alpha Papa was such a natural transition from TV screen to big screen that Steve Coogan donning the cardigan every two years or so would make perfect sense but luckily for Partridge and British comedy fans, SKY and Coogan continue to bring the radio-DJ back to British telly.
It’s a good job too because the quality of Partridge hasn’t diminished. There is still something timeless about the failed chat-show host who seems to be living in a constant mid-life crisis or spiral of self-delusion and grandeur. This results in a series with some fantastic Partridge moments, from him creating a cringe-inducing Radio Drama to believing a reformed gang-member has stolen his phone.
The season also sees the return of side-kick Simon, played by Tim Keys, who even gets a short character-arc of his own involving his girlfriend. This manages to develop the relationship between Partridge and Simon further and gives a better insight into how selfish Partridge actually is. Luckily, he will always get his comeuppance and the episode in which he verbally attacks an unruly school-child is as funny as it is awkward, probably best watched from behind a cushion.
As timeless as Partridge seems to be, there does seem to be some growth in the series. The movie has made an impact and Alan’s new relationship, a result of the events of the film, bring some comedy it’s own. That isn’t to say that there isn’t call-backs for the long-term fans either. Dave Clifton make a a welcome cameo return, and Lynn is always just a phone call away. It would be nice to see a regular appearance from Geordie Michael but in this format, it wouldn’t make much sense.
The format itself is part of the charm of the series. Each episode being broadcast from two webcams is quite a novel way of delivering the aging radio-host. It makes his existence “plausible” in a digital age, as well as managing to deliver a good mix of an over-arching story mixed with small moments of comedy gold. It still baffles me that they haven’t transferred the show to a easily digestible podcast considering the radio format.
Overall, Alan Partridge is still got plenty of comedy gold. He has successfully survived the transfer to the big screen and has even returned to TV for a second series of renaissance show Mid-Morning Matters. It has plenty of classic Partridge moments, great stories to digest and best of all, cringe-worthy Partridge scenes which never get old.
Best Episode – Foxhunter + Radio Play: You will struggle to top Partridge’s radio drama.
Best performance – Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge
Should there be another season? – I think there is plenty of life in Alan Partridge yet and this format seems to keep him fresh
Season Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)