This Time with Alan Partridge
- Brian Donaldson
- 30 April 2021
Another triumph of awkwardness for North Norfolk's iconic digital DJ as modern mores threaten to topple this king of chat
You'd think by now that peak Partridge had been achieved. How many British comedy characters created in the early 90s have enjoyed such staying power while drifting betwixt and between fashion, and whose often archaic views stand stock still with the times? Pretty much none, you'd have to say. And yet, by moving chameleon-like across various media formats, Alan Gordon Partridge has been able to subtly reinvent himself time and time again. Last year's podcast, From the Oasthouse, was a true delight, and he's back for another frenzy of faux pas in This Time with Alan Partridge, a pinsharp spoof of the prime-time, magazine-style, self-satisfied half-hour programme, created by Steve Coogan and the Gibbons brothers, twins Neil and Rob.
Those who have lapped up Partridge from his earliest incarnations in On the Hour through Knowing Me, Know You, and on to the movie Alpha Papa, will simply devour these new episodes with glee. For those who have remained agnostic towards one of North Norfolk's top digital DJs, nothing here is likely to change that opinion. The ageing process is continuing to be unkind to Alan, and even though he might hang tough with a crack SAS squad, back in the studio there are audible creaks when he bends down or over. Still, at least the Partridge mind remains sharp; except, that is, when he's addled on a couple of cocktails in an increasingly awkward demo item.
A broadcasting dinosaur he may be, but it's hard not to sympathise with the harsh treatment he receives at the hands of roving reporter Ruth Duggan (Lolly Adefope) who continues to agree with everything Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding) says while finding fault with each comment Partridge makes. But like all the best bullies, Alan can always pay such hostility forward by haranguing Simon 'Sidekick Simon' Denton (Tim Key) for his inability to work a touchscreen, or belittling his assistant Lynn Benfield (Felicity Montagu) for her mere existence.
It might not exactly be Line of Duty proportions, but a request has been made to keep This Time's narrative twists and guest cameos hush hush. All you really need to know is that no matter what surprises the show has up its sleeve, our hero will always either come a full cropper or claim a rare if small victory. Fans of the Alan Partridge bandwagon are the only true winners here.
BBC One, Friday 30 April, 9.30pm.