‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’ Review

“A whirlwind thriller that’s full of everything you expect from the politically incorrect and socially inept media personality.”

Alan Partridge

To think of the staggering amount of cameos and roles Steve Coogan has found himself in over the years, both in Hollywood and the UK, there’s always that one endearing character he’s most famous for. Well now he’s finally able to bring his most iconic alter ego in the form of Norfolk’s most famous radio DJ Alan Partridge to the big screen, in a whirlwind thriller that’s full of everything you expect from the politically incorrect and socially inept media personality.

With big changes at Norfolk radio, the unlucky but outdated DJ Pat Farrell, (played by Colm Meaney), finds himself booted out the door to make way for a new cooler station. But once he looks to take out his frustration with a wielding gun, fellow DJ Alan Partridge (played by Steve Coogan) must use his best siege tactics and surrounding media circus to save the day, and help save his career.

Having a character as cult-like as Partridge in thirty-minute bursts fits perfectly for television, the question is whether a ninety-minute stint of the comedy will weather the course, and incredibly it does. It glides along comfortably with even the most hard pressed having to admit there are laughs throughout. At no point does it tail off or lose its humour, there’s plenty to enjoy from start to finish. Even more impressive is it’s ability to recognise the history and passage of time these characters have taken and weave that into the story.

Written with Armando Iannucci and Coogan too, it’s the script that shines more than anything. One-liners are delivered brilliantly and can consider themselves to sit proudly among the great pantheon Partridge has coined collectively over the years. It’s also quintessentially British too and is fully aware of its sensibilities, but it’s the story and not the scope that was always going to be the film’s target.

It’s even strange to consider that creating a down and out awkward character that has lasted this long plausible for the big screen, it should sound bizarre as an idea for a film, yet it works. Mainly for its supporting cast that play off Steve Coogan and play their parts really well in the form of long time assistant Lynn (Felicity Montagu), hapless Geordie friend Michael (Simon Greenall) and rival DJ Dave Clifton (Phil Cornwell). With the only downside being you want to spend more time and interaction with these characters that have been ever present in his life.

It’s tongue is firmly in cheek throughout, and it’s hard to see it will hit the heights enough to get a new generation of fans onboard the Partridge bandwagon to have them rush home to catch up on the television series. But for the fans already, it does everything you want it to; it bats down any worried minds they might have and greatly makes the transition to film. Not many TV to film ideas get the formula right, but thankfully this does.