Steve Coogan has finally confirmed that Alan Partridge’s hugely anticipated return to the BBC will arrive on TV next month.
This Time With Alan Partridge will see the iconic TV host being handed an “unlikely career lifeline” when he becomes the host of This Time – a magazine show that sounds suspiciously like The One Show.
After spending the majority of 2018 working on the show, Coogan has now confirmed that it’ll air in February.
Revealing all to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, he explained how it will focus on Alan’s attempts to “get on message” as he becomes reacquainted with a BBC audience.
“What we do is we have him trying to jump on the bandwagon and say, you know, he says ‘Hey! I’ve made mistakes, I’ve stood on the side of the sidewalk and slow hand-clapped while I watch a woman try to parallel park, you know, and I feel bad about that. And now if I saw a woman doing it now, I would shout instructions’,” said Coogan.
He continued: “He’s sometimes ignorant and prejudiced but he tries to do the right thing. Early on we made him too predictably conservative a bit like shooting fish in a barrel – a caricature. Whereas now we do him as someone who realises that he’s got to get on message. He’s struggling to do the thing he’s supposed to.”
Coogan also explained how Partridge’s return will see him tackling some of the hottest topics of the day, including the MeToo movement.
“Me Too – there’s a whole episode about that. That’s such a difficult topic for anyone to talk about for anyone to say anything about, but if you’re doing a character it weirdly gives you this licence to. You can get things wrong in a big way and it’s fine because it’s him doing it,” he said.
“You’re not sanctioning or agreeing with what he’s saying, you’re saying ‘this guy gets things wrong’ so you have licence to do it.”
Coogan added: “And this is the crucial thing, because you’ve got a comic character he can say stuff that you go, ‘that is so off message,’ but sometimes he can say stuff that’s true that I can’t say. So the fool can point something out that everyone secretly knows to be true.’
“You’re not saying that he’s right and you’re not saying that he’s wrong. It allows you to sprinkle a little humanity on arguments that are atrocious.”
In 2018, the BBC announced that show would be the moment that Partridge is “finally recognised as one of the heavyweight broadcasters of his era”.
“The show itself is a heady mix of consumer affairs, current affairs, viewer interaction, highbrow interview and lightweight froth; very much the sweet spots for a man whose CV boasts over two decades of weekday local radio,” the BBC said.
“And with an array of diverse subjects on the agenda, it promises the perfect fit for a man whose broadcasting style has been described as ‘equidistant between chitchat and analysis.”