1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 5 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
1 x 45 minute episodes
The character of Alan Partridge first appeared in On The Hour (1991), a British radio comedy. He was the mock news programme’s sports reporter, whose self-importance was matched only by his lack of sporting insight.
Alan proved popular and BBC Radio 4 gave him a spin-off – a spoof weekly talk show titled Knowing Me, Knowing You after a hit song by ABBA.
When On The Hour was remade for TV (as The Day Today), writers Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci and Patrick Marber pulled the same trick with Knowing Me, Knowing You.
Partridge hosted from a shiny-floored studio set, from which he would deliver a tortuously pun-laden monologue, endure stilted banter with his bandleader Glenn Ponder
(Steve Brown), and clumsily insult his guests.
The TV show featured numerous guests played by a brilliant stock company of actors from The Day Today. They played foils to Alan’s tangential questioning and self-satisfied arrogance.
Sublimely played by Coogan – a skilled impressionist, as well as a comedian – Alan, was a mighty buffoon, committing faux pas, missing the point, and insulting his guests with outrageous aplomb.
The series climaxed with Partridge accidentally shooting a guest dead, leaving his television career in tatters, but he returned to the chat show format with the festive special Knowing Me Knowing Yule with Alan Partridge (1995), in which he sealed his fate by attacking the BBC’s commissioning editor with a frozen turkey.
Even though his talk show was (fictionally) axed, the character of Alan lived on. From 1997, he was the basis of a critically acclaimed sitcom, I’m Alan Partridge, which tracked the rapid decline of his broadcasting career.
Living in a budget motel and working on local radio in Norwich, he tried in vain to get his TV show recommissioned. Periodic specials and webcasts followed, as did a very funny movie, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, in 2013.