Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

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Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Alan Partridge - Alpha Papa poster.jpg
UK theatrical poster
Directed by Declan Lowney
Produced by Kevin Loader
Henry Normal
Screenplay by Neil Gibbons
Rob Gibbons
Steve Coogan
Armando Iannucci
Peter Baynham
Based on Characters created 
by Steve Coogan
Armando Iannucci
Patrick Marber
Peter Baynham
Starring Steve Coogan
Colm Meaney
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography Ben Smithard
Edited by Mark Everson
Production
company
Distributed by StudioCanal UK[1]
Release dates
  • 7 August 2013 (2013-08-07)[1]
Running time 90 minutes[2]
Country United Kingdom[3]
Language English
Budget £4 million
Box office $9.8 million[4]

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (released as Alan Partridge in the United States)[5] is a 2013 British action comedy film starring Steve Coogan reprising his role as Alan Partridge, a fictional presenter he has played on various BBC radio and television shows since 1991. The film was directed by Declan Lowney and written by Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Peter Baynham, Neil Gibbons, and Rob Gibbons.[6]

Principal photography began on 7 January 2013 in Norwich and Mitcham, and the film premiered on 24 July 2013.[7] The film was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 7 August 2013, where it opened at number one in the box office.[8] Magnolia Pictures distributed the film in America.[9] A book of the screenplay was published on 21 November 2013.[10]

Plot[edit]

A local radio station in Norwich, North Norfolk Digital, has been bought out by a multinational conglomerate and is about to be re-branded as "Shape", with staff members facing redundancies. DJ Alan Partridge is not concerned about the change, but his colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) fears for his job and pleads with Alan to gatecrash a board meeting to persuade the new owners to keep him. When Alan inadvertently discovers that either Pat or himself must go, he betrays Pat by writing "JUST SACK PAT" on the meeting room flip-chart. Pat is later asked to leave.

Later that evening, the new owners of the station host a party; while Alan is outside with his assistant, Lynn (Felicity Montagu), Pat enters the station with a shotgun and holds the staff hostage. Alan returns to the party and Pat shoots at him. Escaping and commandeering a car, he heads to the nearest police station (which turns out to be across the road) to report Pat. The police press Alan into service as a negotiator before establishing a command centre in a nearby school and sending Alan back into the station to speak to Pat.

Alan builds an uneasy rapport with Pat, who explains that he just wants his job back; together with Alan's co-presenter, Sidekick Simon (Tim Key), they continue to host a radio show during the siege. Alan daydreams several times about being a hero and ending the siege, but cannot bring himself to grab Pat's gun. As the siege becomes national news, Lynn is persuaded to ditch her frumpy style for a TV interview and Alan's ego swells because of his pivotal role. He steals a kiss from Angela (Monica Dolan), a co-worker who caught his eye earlier in the day.

Alan accidentally locks himself out of the building and loses his trousers whilst trying to get back in through a window. The police realise that he is ineffective as a negotiator and instead send in an undercover officer disguised as a pizza delivery man, but Alan interrupts and takes the pizzas in himself. Once inside, he discovers a taser in one of the boxes; an argument erupts between the hostages, during which the police burst in. Pat manages to escape in the station's tour bus, along with Alan and Alan's long-time friend Michael (Simon Greenall).

While on the bus, Pat and Alan continue to host the radio show and it seems as if they trust one another again. But when looking at a photo of the radio management, Pat notices Alan's "JUST SACK PAT" message in the background; recognising the handwriting, he deduces that Alan was behind his redundancy. Alan hides in the bus' portaloo and escapes in the septic tank.

On Cromer Pier, Pat faces off with Alan and the police. Michael tries to distract Pat by throwing himself off the pier (to no avail), and Pat explains that he is depressed due to the death of his wife. Unable to bring himself to commit suicide, Pat gives his shotgun to Alan, who throws it aside and is accidentally shot in the leg as it goes off. He is then shot in the shoulder by a police sniper reacting to gunfire. Lynn arrives and thinks Alan is dead, but a paramedic assures him that he will be fine.

Alan returns to North Norfolk Digital along with the somewhat shell-shocked Sidekick Simon and a weekly call-in from Pat, who has now been jailed. Alan has also formed a relationship with Angela and is seen driving off on holiday with her and her two boys, towing a boat on a trailer bearing the legend "Alpha Papa".

Cast[edit]

Several characters from the original show make appearances in the film. Steve Coogan is Alan Partridge, alongside his I'm Alan Partridge co-stars Felicity Montagu, as Alan's put-upon personal assistant Lynn Benfield, Phil Cornwell as rival DJ Dave Clifton and Simon Greenall as Alan's troubled Geordie friend Michael. Comedian and poet Tim Key reprises his role as Sidekick Simon from the Mid Morning Matters series while Colm Meaney, who shares billing alongside Coogan in publicity for the film, stars as Pat Farrell.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Alan Partridge, portrayed by Steve Coogan, was created as a character in 1991 for the radio show On the Hour by Coogan, Armando Iannucci, and Patrick Marber,[11] with input from writers Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.[12] The character is an egotistical television presenter and radio announcer, whose presenting style is a parody of cliched media reporting or presentation. The character's fictional career has been charted in several British television and radio programmes, as well as in the book I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan, a spoof autobiography.

Rumours about an Alan Partridge film began in August 2004, when a small piece appeared in The Metro newspaper which claimed Coogan had been given the green light from a US studio for a Partridge film. Coogan reportedly said: "It's always been my plan to make Alan go global. It's what he lives for really, not just doing the show on Radio Norwich." In April 2005, Coogan's production firm Baby Cow announced that an Alan Partridge movie was in the pipeline.[13][14] It was later revealed the film would involve an al-Qaeda siege, but due to the sensitivities of such a storyline after the July 2005 London bombings, the project was put on hold.[15] Playwright Patrick Marber, whose early collaborations with Coogan included The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge, had also been working on the script, while actress Felicity Montagu, who plays Partridge's personal assistant Lynn, also confirmed that there had been discussions about the film. Further details of the film were released in November 2007.[16] The plot of the film involved Alan Partridge attempting another comeback from local radio, only to have his ambitions thwarted when Middle Eastern terrorists hijack the BBC offices. Coogan had written some dialogue, but at the time he was uncertain of whether he wanted to revisit Partridge.[16]

In 2010, Armando Iannucci confirmed that a film was definitely in the works, and as well as announcing that the film would not be based on Partridge travelling to the USA: "Steve and I have agreed a story for the film. It's NOT Alan goes to America."[17] Meanwhile, the character was revived for a web series Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge, as well as two one-off specials produced for Sky Atlantic.[18] In 2012, Iannucci stated that the as-yet-untitled film was in pre-production and would be shooting later in the year for a 2013 UK release, and would be directed by Declan Lowney of Father Ted fame.[19] The film is a co-production between Baby Cow Productions, BBC Films, the BFI Film Fund, and StudioCanal. The film had a budget of £4 million.[20] It was released in the UK by StudioCanal.[1] In March 2013, a teaser trailer for the film revealed the title to be Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.[21]

Release and reception[edit]

Release[edit]

After a campaign named "Anglia Square not Leicester Square" the world premiere was held in Anglia Square, Norwich on 24 July 2013 with Steve Coogan appearing in character.[22] Steve Coogan greeted fans at Anglia Square before being whisked away by helicopter to London to attend a full premiere in Leicester Square.[23] In its opening weekend, the film grossed £2.18 million at the UK box office, beating Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and Grown Ups 2 for the number one spot.[24] As of 22 September 2013, Alpha Papa had grossed a total of £6.12 million at the UK Box Office.[25] It was released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 2 December 2013.

Reception[edit]

The film received a positive reception.[26] It currently holds an 87% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 73 collected reviews, with an average score of 7.1/10. The sites consensus reads: "What it lacks in gut-busting laughs, Alan Partridge more than makes up in incisive wit, serving as a fine opener for newcomers as well as a gift for longtime fans."[27] It also holds a Metacritic score of 68 out of 100, based on 21 sampled reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[28]

James Mottram, who reviewed the film for Total Film, gave the film four stars out of five, saying "Smartly executed, endlessly quotable and machine-gun quick, this is one of the funniest films of 2013."[29] Empire's Dan Jolin awarded the film an "excellent" four stars out of five, stating "it provides a masterclass in physical character comedy courtesy of the Alan himself...Ruddy hilarious. Just what big-screen comedy needed."[30]

Chris Tilly, who reviewed the film for IGN, gave the film 8.5 out of 10, saying "It's not easy to take a beloved TV character and replicate their success on film...But Steve Coogan and co have nailed it with the first Alan Partridge movie, a gloriously entertaining comedy that resembles a Hollywood blockbuster...while at the same time staying true to the roots of the character."[31] Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph gave the film a mixed review. He said, in a three out of five star review, that "Alpha Papa allows Alan Partridge to dream big – or biggish, anyway – for the first time in the character’s 21-year history. But since when was he the man of our dreams?"[32]

Book[edit]

A book of the screenplay, titled Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Script and Scrapped, which includes stage directions, material that did not find its way into the film, a foreword by Steve Coogan and notes by the film's writers, was published by HarperCollins on 21 November 2013.[10]

Sequel[edit]

On 4 April 2014 it was reported that a sequel is in the works.[33] No details as to the plot or release date have yet been released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Alan Partridge film gets release date". BBC News. BBC Online. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA (15)". StudioCanal. British Board of Film Classification. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  3. ^ http://explore.bfi.org.uk/51bf909acbffa
  4. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=alanpartridge.htm
  5. ^ Chitwood, Adam (20 August 2–13). "Steve Coogan Comedy ALAN PARTRIDGE Set for Early 2014 U.S. Release". Collider.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Seale, Jack (15 March 2013). "Alan Partridge film: teaser video and title revealed". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa world premiere in Norwich - in pictures | Film". theguardian.com. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  8. ^ Posted on August 13th, 2013 (2013-08-13). "'Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa' is the 'Top Daddy' of the UK Box Office | Anglophenia". BBC America. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  9. ^ "Steve Coogan’s ‘Alan Partridge’ Gets North American Distribution". Variety. 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  10. ^ a b Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa: Script and Scrapped. Google Books. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Alan Partridge Cast and Credits". BBC News. BBC Online. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Connelly, Brendan (4 January 2013). "Richard Herring On Co-Creating Alan Partridge, His Rasputin TV Show And Dave’s New Comedy Competition". BleedingCool.com. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Coogan plans Alan Partridge movie". BBC News. BBC Online. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  14. ^ "I Am Not Alan Partridge". Film4. Channel 4. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  15. ^ Adams, Guy (13 April 2006). "The 'red-socked fop' returns to the fray". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2007. 
  16. ^ a b Harlow, John (11 November 2007). "Aha! Terrorists face wrath of Alan Partridge". The Times (News Corporation). Archived from the original on 13 May 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2008. 
  17. ^ "'Alan Partridge: The Movie' is on the way". NME. IPC Media. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "Alan Partridge movie confirmed to be in production". British Comedy Guide. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  19. ^ de Semlyen, Phil (30 April 2012). "Armando Iannucci On Alan Partridge Movie". Empire. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Alan Partridge goes back to Norwich roots for Alpha Papa movie premiere". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "The Alan Partridge movie — watch the first trailer for Alpha Papa". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Alan Partridge Alpha Papa: Norwich hosts world premiere" BBC News 24 July 2013
  23. ^ Meddings, Sabah (9 July 2013). "Alan Partridge World Premiere to be held in Norwich". EDP. Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Gant, Charles (2013-08-14). "Alan Partridge, Percy Jackson and Grown Ups 2 vie for No 1 weekend spot | Film". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  25. ^ http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-weekend-box-office-report-20-22-september.xls
  26. ^ "BBC News - Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa tops the UK box office". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-08-12. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  27. ^ "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa". Flixster. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  28. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/alan-partridge
  29. ^ Mottram, James. "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (The Alan Partridge Movie) Review". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  30. ^ "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa". Empire Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa". IGN. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  33. ^ Blunkett, John. "Alan Partridge set for Alpha Papa sequel, says Baby Cow's Henry Normal". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 

External links[edit]