This Time with Alan Partridge

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    Ben Kirkham

    Personally, I loved it. Maybe I’m just so thrilled to have more Partridge but I always love it when Alan is keen to make a good impression. Not as good as Scissored Isle, so far, but lots of potential.



    I found it a *little* bit disappointing. Maybe it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Mind you, I do admit that I never was as fanatical about Partidge as others back in the day (today).
    I did enjoy it, though, and found plenty to smile at. Certainly not going to stop watching.



    Brilliant. Good to have him big in the back time.



    I thought it was very good. The format is great in the way it allows them to play with Alan both in front of the camera and behind*, and some of the comedy setpieces and gags this episode worked really well, particularly the interview at the end which felt like vintage Partridge. Plus, nice to see a couple of guest characters that I didn’t know were involved in this series.

    There was a decent hit rate too – not much fell flat for me.

    (I think the show’s format is particularly brilliant given the history of Partridge on TV, as it allows them to do TDT/KMKYWAP-style on-screen stuff, then mix that with IAP-style real-life aspects, and also include short films that are more like the faux-documentary stuff produced for Sky. They get to have a little bit of everything.)



    Also, I looked ahead to the description of next episode and it hints at how things may develop:

    This has huge comedy potential.


    Ben Kirkham

    Sounds like the original co-presenter dies! I’m remembering Alan’s priceless reaction to Tony Hayers’ passing. Looking forward to this.


    Ben Saunders

    I am so watching this right now, thanks for bringing it to my attention



    Sounds like the original co-presenter dies!

    Yes, that’s the spoiler I was trying to dance around.

    It’s going to be Tony Hayers’ funeral all over again.


    Ben Saunders

    I thought it was fantastic. Alan needing a glass of water, with that phenomenal delivery of “my mouth is dryyy”. The hand washing VT. No, we mustn’t. The female co-presenter stealing his shite jokes. The bit with the Twitter machine thing not working was lame and maybe a couple of things weren’t top notch, but install it was great and I’m looking forward to the next episode



    Episode 2: not quite as good as the first one, but still lots of fun. I liked the way the power dynamics played out and the final twist worked well.


    Pete Part Three

    I lost it when the guy fell off the raised seating. Like episode 1, it strained credibility at the end, but it had me LOLing throughout, and I really don’t make a habit of that.



    It’s the minutiae that makes me laugh the most – the strained pronunciations, awkward movements and difficult camera moves. There’s always such a lot going on.



    I enjoy it a lot, the film inserts more than the awkward studio bits that are already getting repetitive, but it’s probably bottom of the Partridge barrel along with the film. That’s not a low standard though. Hoping it’s going to snowball into something greater by the end.


    Plastic Percy

    That shuttlecock was a great brick joke.

    There’s a nice subtle foreshadowing of John’s sexual harassment in the archive footage of This Time 2012.

    Alan and Garfunkel’s picking over John’s bones to be the next presenter of This Time was nice. I especially loved Alan’s confused reaction to how Home Secretary was a popular choice for a boyhood dream, as well as subtle digs about how his story about John helping get him his big break was bollocks and it was down to his father being in BBC senior management.

    I’m loving Lynn’s little moments, she’s turned into Alan’s Kingmaker. She’s clearly got a bit too hooked on Game of Thrones.


    Ben Saunders

    >the strained pronunciations
    I already mentioned it, but the way he says “mY mOuTh iS dRy” is just fantastic, and basically any time he says something slightly wrong is worth a heart chuckle



    The Great War Of China.


    Ben Saunders

    Episode two didn’t have as high highs, or as low lows, much more consistent, this is definitely a show worth watching I’d say, and that I’ve already recommended to two friends.


    Ben Saunders

    Incidentally, this week’s episode literally almost killed me, as after the first tweets segment I laughed as I was swallowing my lunch and choked on it, wheezing and spluttering for a full two minutes after thinking “this is how I go out”



    Episode three was enjoyable, and the series really feels like it’s getting into a rhythm now. Which is a good thing and a bad thing – some of the jokes are a bit repetitive but it also allows them to layer new gags on the old, like the twist on the reporter talking about self-driving cars this week.




    The joke with the cameo is that Alan’s comparing the photo with an e-fit, right?






    I love the new intro too. I’ve always hated the smugness of the Andrew Marr show intro, and this parodies it perfectly.



    Partridge was at a character-consistent level of competency in show 3. I hadn’t really believed the ‘world’ of it until this one.

    Still don’t think it’s particularly funny though. And I have zero interest in rewatching it.



    I laugh more during this show than anything else on TV at the moment. I probably haven’t laughed this much and this regularly since the Philomena Cunk series.


    Stephen Abootman

    More Partridge during Comic Relief on Friday:

    “10:35pm-midnight, BBC1

    As part of his welcome return to the BBC, Alan Partridge will be doing his bit for Comic Relief. Watch Steve Coogan spin comedy gold out of the gauche, perpetually discombobulated Partridge, as he attempts to raise money on the streets of Norwich.”



    Ignore the host bits, obviously.



    This week’s episode was maybe the weakest so far, but Alan’s lookalike at the end made up for it. Brilliantly done and very funny.


    pi r squared

    I actually thought this week’s was the strongest so far – we must look for slightly different things in a Partridge episode! Genuinely laughing out loud throughout, from the satellite-delay frustration with Ruth (and I had to rewind a couple of times to truly enjoy the perfectly-portrayed confusion when the delay disappeared entirely for Jennie), to the “CPR”-but-clearly-sex doll, through to the brilliant “who the hell is that?!”. The lookalike was so well performed; even though it is clearly Coogan playing both roles, you quickly believe there’s two separate people there – so much so that I didn’t spot until a second watch that there’s a really nice bit of camera-trickery/body-double work going on when Martin hands Alan the box with Alun.

    The only thing I don’t really get is what the ‘in-universe’ explanation is for the “low-budget” stuff that sometimes appears – for example, the weird Partridge-produced jingle for “through the backdoor”. I get the shitty jingles on Radio Norwich, a tin-pot station with no budget for real ones so Alan has to make his own, and certainly for North Norfolk Digital, but this is supposedly primetime BBC. I don’t remember Adrian Chiles ever making his own jingles for The One Show. It just seems a bit incongruous in a show where pretty much all of the other parody falls perfectly.



    Don’t get me wrong, I still thought it was really good.

    Passing the box was a highlight. Red Dwarf has trained me to look for stuff like that.



    In an interview, Coogan said that tooth badge was some Masonlike symbol (which isn’t addressed in the show) so I think Partridge has been cashing in on some favour owed by a BBC higher up.



    I haven’t laughed at anything in a long time so much as the latest episode.

    This and Fleabag have made Monday nights a joy over the last few weeks.


    Pete Part Three

    Every episode, it seems to go slightly surreal in the last couple of minutes and kind of loses me. This week: the lips. I’ve no problem of it straying into KMKYWAP / The Day Today territory, I just wish it would play its hand a little earlier, and inform us that this isn’t quite the rigid reality of IAP, Alpha Papa and the Sky stuff.



    The year’s Fleabag episodes have been fantastic.

    Very good ep of Partridge this week as well.



    Thought show 5 was rotten and full of pointless sledgehammer retreads of previous Partridge beats. Also, with Partridge’s weird relapse into unconfidence and out of character malapropisms I am convinced this was originally supposed to be show 3 and got pushed back into the death slot. The segment with Ruth was a de-escalation on the one in show 4 as well. Made no sense as show 5, and proved how ill-advised it was to do anything other than have a super-confident, on-the-ball Alan across all six.

    It felt like it lasted an hour though. Why have the Gibbons brothers developed an obsession with Alan being hurt and injured? It’s a cruel and miserable running joke that is turning Alan back into the humiliated punchbag of IAP s2.

    (Also – how unambitious do you have to be to film Parliament on greenscreen?!)


    Shoes Have Soles

    Watched two episodes so far. Meh its ok. I was a massive Partridge fan in the early years, less so the recent outputs post Iannucci. Post the film and I Patridge personally I don’t think its the same any more. The Nomad book I did not like at all.

    Perhaps it’s me but I think they have reached the end of the character and where they can take him. Coogan is an excellent performer but I think in toning down Alan they have lost some of the sheer comedic value of the I am Alan Partridge days. It is still one of the finest comedy character British TV has ever produced though.

    On a side note I have always wondered if Chris Barrie and Steve Coogan know much of each others? I believe both started out on spitting image, and both are car enthusiasts. Sounds like a tv show to me.



    Coogan essentially took over from Chris Barrie on Spitting Image. Due to Dwarf/Brittas demands there was a period where Coogan would sub for Barrie’s roles (literally doing impressions of his impressions) if he wasn’t present at recording sessions as was happening more and more often, although in the end Coogan didn’t stay that much longer after Barrie left.

    Don’t think they were ever that matey outside of work though. We’d probably know if they were. In his book Coogan is slightly sniffy about his Spitting Image days, and is an absolute twat about Kate Robbins, who he doesn’t mention by name but reveals too much identifying information about to give her a fair shot at anonymity. It’s a good book as it’s very obviously not ghostwritten but it’s also weird. Couple of chapters written up Harvey Weinstein’s arse which can’t be dating well.



    I agree that there have been lots of slightly different Partridges over the years, and this one skews relatively broad in places (although not quite to the same extent as IAP2).

    But I don’t mind a slight inconsistency to the tone if they can still make it funny, which they are doing (and if you’re focusing only on the broad gags then you’re missing a ton of much more subtle stuff that the show is doing too).

    It’s a bit like being a Batman fan and being able to enjoy the sixties TV show as well as The Dark Knight. There are lots of different ways to make Partridge work.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah this thread has awakened me to the fact that there are people who take the integrity of the Alan Partridge “universe” pretty seriously. I mean, they had to be somewhere, and they were most likely going to be here.



    The truth is that it’s a bit of a balancing act, and everyone is going to have a different threshold for how willing they are to allow for stretching the character a little bit for the sake of a laugh.

    I wouldn’t ever say people are wrong for letting those concerns over consistency and flexibility get in the way of them enjoying something – you can’t argue someone into finding something funny, you either laugh or you don’t – but I do think it would be a shame if the largely great work this show is doing got overlooked in favour of complaining that the character has drifted slightly over the years (which has been true from his very earliest appearances if we’re honest – I remember that some people were distraught at the time that the first series of IAP had ruined the character, but these days it’s looked on as vintage Partridge).


    Ben Saunders

    Just caught up on episode three and was a bit disappointed, really. I’ve never met a Scottish person who talks like that, the bit just doesn’t ring true. People from Perth/Fife etc do end their sentences with “eh” a lot, but not “ugh” or whatever it was. “Ugh” is better for comedy, and the bit was quite well-played, but it just doesn’t ring true. “Kicking the weef ock” was pretty funny.

    Get rid of that Simon guy, he’s shite. I’m inclined to actually go check Twitter whenever they try to do so on the show, what mind numbing dross those segments are.


    Pete Part Three

    Simon is fantastic. No.



    This went out on a curiously subdued note tonight. There were long sequences when I didn’t laugh at all and it almost felt like watching a real daytime TV show; and a lot of the more constructed gags and film sequences didn’t work for me either. A shame as the rest of the series has been largely good and has had a pretty high hit rate.


    Pete Part Three

    Definitely the weakest of the run. I get the intention of ‘writing Jennie out”, but the actual show benefited from her (irrespective of the show-within-a-show), and so this felt a bit flat. Alan doesn’t need to be incompetent to be funny, he just needs to be Alan.

    The ‘pre-recorded’ segments have been a bit hit and miss throughout the series, but I thought they were all pretty miss this week.

    Incidentally, not sure the benefit of tagging all the footage as occurring in the last week, when a previous episode had declared it was 2018. Are we to assume Alan has been presenting this for several months, as I don’t get that impression. Maybe three at the very most.



    Yes, without Jennie the show felt off-balance.

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