This week, arguably Norfolk’s best-known son Alan Partridge is finally getting his silver screen outing in film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. The narcissistic radio DJ and former TV show host finds himself thrust back into the limelight when his radio station North Norfolk Digital is taken hostage by a crazed employee. It is over 20 years since Steve Coogan debuted his hapless character on radio comedy show On the Hour; since then, he has hosted a failed chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You, in which he managed to kill one of his guests; worked the graveyard shift on a Norfolk radio station; and taken on humiliating promotional jobs including Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a Video. An avid reader (of the Daily Mail), a devoted Wings fan (the band the Beatles could have been) and father of two (his son, Fernando, is named after the Abba song), Alan is a most complex character, who despite many pitfalls, continues to bounce back. Here we print ten top facts that make up a portrait of Norfolk’s DJ célèbre.
1. He is a huge James Bond fan and nearly had Roger Moore on his chat show, but he was sadly stuck in traffic.
2. His favourite bands include Wings, Abba, Soft Cell and Kraftwerk. He enjoys rocking out to Gary Numan and the theme tune from 70s TV show Return of the Saint.
3. He drives a Lexus, the “Japanese Mercedes”.
4. He survived a nervous breakdown, chronicled in his book Bouncing Back, in which he drove to Dundee in his bare feet. The book was described by Shakin’ Stevens as “lovely stuff”.
5. He has a relaxed dress style dubbed “sports casual”. This includes lightweight trousers, padded gilets, driving gloves and blazers bearing the words Knowing Me, Knowing You in Latin (Cognoscens Me, Cognoscens Te – Aha). His key “looks” include: “cruiser arriviste”, “imperial leisure” and “strolling pastel”.
Alan's key “looks” include: “cruiser arriviste”, “imperial leisure” and “strolling pastel”.
6. His celebrity friends include Bill Oddie and he claims to know Bono; his real friends are his long-suffering assistant Lynn, and deranged ex-soldier Michael.
7. He has a difficult relationship with food, especially Toblerones, which he gorged on during his breakdown. He is no gourmand: he refused to eat bull’s testicles prepared by a top French chef on his show and is a late convert to Newcastle dish “a cup of beans”.
8. He has a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with the commissioners at the BBC, whom he considers loathsome cronies who all went to Oxbridge University, “wherever that is”. Yet he is plagued with strange fantasies in which he lap-dances for their commissioning editor.
9. Among his legion of fans is the unhinged Jed, whose home is a shrine to Alan and even has a tattoo of him on his chest.
10. He has a lot of issues, but only of What Car magazine.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is out today.
Text by Laura Allsop