MY TOP TWENTY FILMS OF ALL TIME. #15: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Next on the countdown is one of the most anticipated British comedies ever. Production began in 2005 on a movie based on the popular Steve Coogan character, the end result in 2013 became a rather funny and entertaining film with a great cast and top story. The film brought back cast members from I’m Alan Partridge including Phil Cornwell, Simon Greenal and Felicity Montagu as his assistant Lynn Benfield. The film opens with Alan Partridge still working as a radio DJ for North Norfolk Digital on his show with his sidekick Simon, which is about to be re-branded to “Shape” and the fear of redundancies loom as Alan looks to keep his position at the radio, but in doing this he encourages his bosses to go towards sacking Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney). Shortly after Pat is sacked (thanks to Alan Partridge, and after he states “JUST SACK PAT”), a party is held at the station to celebrate the successful change. When Alan is out of the building, Pat goes in and interrupts the party with a shotgun and takes the members of the radio hostage. Alan then returns and runs out when he finds Pat and goes to the police for help. Now, this is where it gets interesting.

Alan Partridge agrees to help the police to defuse the situation and be a negotiator to help save those inside and help Pat to surrender. Alan takes this time as a reason to put his profile up and also catches the eye of Angela who also works for the station. Pat presents a show during this time and gets Alan as his co-host. Alan keeps messing things up such as not taking action against Pat when he hands him his gun, messing up negotiations (giving Pat the idea to get a helicopter) and locking himself out of the station (and loses his trousers when he falls out of a window). The movie does manage to deliver many laughs in its runtime, these continue to grow until the finale where Alan and Pat are in a mobile broadcaster and it is here when Pat finds out the truth about his sacking from Shape. Leading to a final conclusion on Cromer Pier, the two finally get to talk seriously and the film is then rounded off to a rather humorous conclusion.

Steve Coogan has perfected this character so much over the last couple of decades, including in the more recent Mid Morning Matters show where the character was first brought back to the public eye. Developing on both the original ideas from I’m Alan Partridge and Mid Morning Matters was a smart move and combines characters that have appeared in both to help form a successful film. Steve Coogan is as brilliant as ever as Alan Partridge, playing the DJ that we all love to listen to. Colm Meaney is just a great choice for Pat Farrell because he has a great radio voice and can go from understanding to psychotic in under a second. Also shoutouts to Tim Key (Side-kick Simon), Phil Cornwell (DJ Dave Clifton) and Felicity Montagu (Lynn Benfield) as they all return to their parts perfectly and make you think that almost no time has passed since last playing these characters. The script, with contributions from Coogan and Armando Iannucci is superb throughout. The movie has great wide appeal while it also keeps to its British roots rather well. Definitely a comedy film you would be proud to have in your collection. Also, big points to Steve Coogan for his lip-syncing to ‘Cuddly Toy’ by Roachford.

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove.

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