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.
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.
Over six episodes and a Christmas special, the result was never less than hilarious.
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, the twelve-episode I’m Alan Partridge, which tracked the rapid decline of his broadcasting career.
Living in a budget hotel and working on local radio, 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.