A-ha! Over the past 25 years we’ve seen Norwich’s favourite son and Abba’s biggest champion Alan Partridge grow into one of the UK’s greatest, most loved and most quoted comedy creations.
In order to mark his eagerly awaited return this Christmas, we’re taking a look back at his 10 greatest, most Partridge-esque moments. Of course, there are so many to choose from that it’s been an incredibly difficult task, so no doubt the many Partridge lovers will have their own ideas on which moments had them exclaiming ‘Jurassic Park!’ Let battle commence…
1. FOOTBALL COMMENTARY
During his stint on the sports desk of 1994’s The Day Today, Partridge looks forward to that year’s football World Cup by providing a compilation of clips featuring his commentaries. Cue such classics as “Yes… yes… yes… yes… yes… yes… YES!! That was a goal!”, “Boof! Eat my goal”, “Twat! That was liquid football!” and the incomparable “Shit! Did you see that? He must have a foot like a traction engine!” Still better than anything Match Of The Day can come up with nowadays.
2. A PARTRIDGE IN PARIS
One of the episodes of his six-part 1994 chat show ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ is set in Paris, where Alan is joined by local co-host Nina Vanier. Vanier and the guests (a racing driver, a clothes designer and some clowns) are a haughty, pretentious bunch and mock Alan’s obvious limitations as a presenter. Things aren’t helped when he puts together a fashion segment set in the French capital, showcasing his unique ‘sports casual’ look.
3. KILLING A GUEST ON HIS CHAT SHOW
The climax to ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ is, to put it mildly, a bit of a disaster. Alan manages to be humiliated by a couple of children who happened to be Hollywood big shots, before going on to offend a pair of lesbian TV presenters. To cap it all off, when the final guest, grumpy restaurant critic Forbes McAllister, shows Alan one of Lord Byron’s duelling pistols that he recently bought for £100,000, Alan accidentally shoots him with one of them, not realising they were loaded. McAllister dies, and the show ends with the presenter being led away by the police (who he manages to say “A-ha” to), in the meantime managing to sack his producer and tell his fans he’d be in Manchester the following month to open a branch of Texas Homecare.
4. “MONKEY TENNIS”
Desperate to make more TV shows for the BBC despite the disastrous failure of his chat show and having punched the commissioning editor of the BBC, Tony Hayers, with a chicken on his 1995 Christmas special ‘Knowing Me, Knowing Yule’, Partridge sets up a meeting with Hayers at TV Centre to run through some ideas. After running through the likes of ‘Arm Wrestling with Chas And Dave’, and ‘Inner City Sumo’, Partridge starts desperately freestyling, and the results have passed into legend. The clip is unavailable online, but the audio can be heard here.
5. UPSETTING NORFOLK’S FARMING COMMUNITY
After some offhand comments on his radio show cause offence to farmers, Alan ends up having to apologise to Farmers’ Union rep Peter Baxendale-Thomas (played by Chris Morris) on his next show, but things don’t go well. Partridge’s pride gets the better of him and leads him to unleash a torrent of increasingly ridiculous insults, culminating in the allegation that they “feed beefburgers to swans”. The tirade will result in a bunch of p*ssed-off farmers dropping a dead cow on Alan from a bridge while he’s filming an advert on the Norfolk Broads.
6. DISCUSSING HIS FAVOURITE BEATLES ALBUM
‘Revolver’? ‘Abbey Road’? ‘Sgt Pepper’s..’? Nope…Alan’s got a uniquely simplistic take on the Fab Four’s colossal achievements.
7. KATE BUSH MEDLEY
On 1999’s Children In Need, Partridge has a pretty memorable evening. As well as interviewing Bryan Ferry and discussing “neatness in pop” in his Norwich studio base, he offers to travel to Television Centre in London to perform a Kate Bush medley if enough money is pledged. Having already ably tackled an Abba medley on ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ with American singing star Gina Langland, this time he goes it alone, despite vocalising his anxieties over copyright clearance. His take on Bush’s duet with Peter Gabriel, ‘Don’t Give Up’, is particularly affecting.
8. “DAN! DAN! DAN!”
Partridge gets friendly with local kitchen showroom owner Dan Moody after finding out he also drives a Lexus, drinks Directors Bitter and is generally a bit of a player in East Anglia. Things eventually sour due to Dan and his wife being “sex people” but before Alan finds that out, he attends the Norfolk Bravery Awards, as does Dan. When he sees his new pal in the car park, he tries to get his attention in an increasingly desperate manner.
9. GETTING ANGRY WITH SIDEKICK SIMON
After Partridge boasts about his “top tax band” income live on air on ‘Mid Morning Matters’, Sidekick Simon claims the Inland Revenue have been in touch regarding his claims. This leads to Partridge frantically backtracking to his listeners. When he realises he’s been had, Partridge erupts, as he simply can’t accept being the butt of a joke.
10. SINGING ‘CUDDLY TOY’ IN THE CAR
The opening credits for the Partridge movie, ‘Alpha Papa’, see Partridge taking his mid-range saloon car for a spin while singing along to Roachford’s 1989 soul-pop smash. This is Partridge at his purest.