Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

The British know Alan Partridge as almost a symbol of Englishness, middle-aged, middle class, middle of the road personality, both narcissistic and insecure. Unfortunately he’s also known, worldwide for having a fairly well documented fling with Kurt Cobains widow, Courtney Love, in quite possibly my favourite ‘hook up’ of all time. Steve Coogan’s creation Alan Partridge was brought to life in the early 90s on BBC radio, as a spoof and satire of C-List celebrity showbiz world, particularly in radio and mockumentary style shows.

Fast forward to 2013, and Alan is back on the big screen. Now, I’m sorry to my readers across the pond, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa might not make a whole lot of sense to you… But for my British readers this is going to be a good old English treat. Set in Norwich, where the world premier also took place, Alan runs a successful mid-morning radio show at North Norfolk Digital, but the company is being taken over by a big conglomerate radio company who plan on making big changes to scheduling and DJs. Pat, the evening DJ is pitted against Alan, and being the sort of person Alan is, he sacrifices Pat to keep his own show. During a launch party of the newly branded radio station, Pat storms in and takes the radio station hostage. The only hope now to save the day, is Alan.

Norwich World Premier - in typical Partridge fashion

Norwich World Premier – in typical Partridge fashion

The plot of Alpha Papa is typically lame. Very simple, very straight forward and doesn’t need a huge amount of cerebral effort, but let’s all be honest, the audience watching this isn’t too concerned about plot, I mean it needs to be coherent, but we’re not expecting a Hollywood blockbuster of Inception proportions. The main reason you’re watching this film is because you’re an Alan Partridge fan. And it doesn’t disappoint. The comedy is fairly non-stop, it’s a no-frills film and gets straight to the point. Unless you’ve seen Alan Partridge before, Alpha Papa might not make much sense. But I was in hysterics, particularly with the Geordie security guard, who provides some of the funniest moments.

Admittedly, there are many flaws with this film. Like I mentioned the plot is fairly bog-standard, there isn’t anything revolutionary here in terms of story or character. It also seems to lose its way at the mid-way point, becoming a bit silly and non-believable, but this doesn’t really matter. Alpha Papa is essentially a sketch show where every sketch has an underlying plot. The cast is made up of recognisable British talent, but all are overshadowed by Alan Partridge. The focus is probably too heavy on Alan, there is comedy potential in most of the other characters but there is little opportunity to explore them. One particularly weak element of the story was the love interest plot with a meek and mild Angela, who is eventually booted off-screen anyway because of Alan discovering she has children.

Hostage and Siege negotiator

Hostage and Siege negotiator

This is a fan film, and it wont be attracting any new fans, although part of me hopes that newbies will watch it and be interested enough to discover some vintage Partridge as the quality of his earlier work is superior to the film. But it’s a good laugh, great comedy and a perfect example of a throwaway film which is enjoyable and worth watching. Plus, how could I not support it, it’s one of the most successful British films of the year. Hey, it can’t be ‘The Kings Speech’ all the time…

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