When Chris Eubank tweeted at a follower “can you please explain the link between me and youth hostels?”, a nation of Partridgephiles almost dropped its big plate.
Has Eubank really spent the 18 years since Alan Partridge pitched Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank to unimpressed BBC commissioning editor Tony Hayers wondering why everyone’s always asking him if he has any plans to try out the UK’s budget backpacker accommodation without once Googling it?
But as Eubank finally wakes up and smells the cheese, it’s conceivable that Alan’s show would be snapped up in a heartbeat these days. One editor has claimed to have had some of Partridge’s ideas pitched to him for real, and several, slightly altered, have actually made it to air. Meanwhile, the Channel 5, ITV2 and BBC 3 schedules are packed with shows that sound like Alan blurted them off the top of his brie-addled brain. Here are our favourites.
Tom Daley Goes Global
The Partridge pitch: Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank, minus Chris Eubank. The Olympic diving heartthrob backpacks around the world being disgusted by Thai toilets and dodgy bed stains, narrated by James Corden. No shit.
Gordon Behind Bars
Channel 4, 2012
The Partridge pitch: Cooking… In Prison. Another of Alan’s actual ideas came to fruition as Gordon Ramsay hits Brixton prison to teach inmates how to cook lemon tarts. Our fingers are still crossed for A Partridge Amongst The Pigeons.
Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways
Channel 5, 2012
The Partridge pitch: Chris Tarrant takes some of the wildest-ass train journeys in the world, discovering how the railways were built as he goes. High-octane thrills ensue, such as the Congo jungle train that turns up six days late, then breaks down.
Celebrity Super Spa
Channel 5, 2013
The Partridge pitch: Yvette Fielding, Phil from Shameless and fellow z-listers go to work in a real-life spa in Liverpool, learning the fine art of the back, sack and crack. Part celebrity primping hothouse, part retraining for their post-‘fame’ careers.
Touch The Truck
Channel 5, 2001
The Partridge pitch: Twenty people touch a truck for as long as possible. The last one still touching it, wins it. Dale Winton presents. The winner, securing the truck after almost 82 hours, sells it to fund his own political party, eventually gaining 54 votes.
Top Dog Model
The Partridge pitch: Dog models. Literally. Leggy canines compete to star in a Cif advert. Stacey Solomon presents, with help from Ashleigh and Pudsey.
Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davies
The Partridge pitch: The lovable Ewok/Willow star/Ricky Gervais sidekick travels the country morris dancing, enacting Viking battles and generally talking to nutters.
Ghosthunting With The Happy Mondays
The Partridge pitch: Yvette Fielding (again) takes notorious baggy drug guzzlers the Happy Mondays to Lincoln’s most haunted location and watches as they freak the fuck out over terrifying flashbacks to the worst trips they had in 1989. “Something was fucking about with the back of my head,” says Shaun Ryder mistaking narcotic-induced brain damage for supernatural activity, while Bez convinces himself the evil spirits can’t get him if he’s standing on a chair.
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The Partridge pitch: Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton, army man James Hewitt and some people who used to be famous in the ’80s kick the shit out of each other. Kate Thornton presents.
Extreme Fishing With Robson Green
Channel 5, 2008
The Partridge pitch: The Casualty and Soldier, Soldier star annoys massive sea creatures the world over.