Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
|Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa|
UK theatrical poster
|Directed by||Declan Lowney|
|Produced by||Kevin Loader
|Screenplay by||Neil Gibbons
|Based on||Characters created
by Richard Herring
|Music by||Ilan Eshkeri|
|Edited by||Mark Everson|
|Distributed by||StudioCanal UK|
|Box office||$9.8 million|
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (released as Alan Partridge in the United States) 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.
Principal photography began on 7 January 2013 in Norwich and Mitcham, and the film premiered on 24 July 2013. The film was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 7 August 2013, where it opened at number one in the box office. Magnolia Pictures distributed the film in America. A book of the screenplay was published on 21 November 2013.
Norwich radio station North Norfolk Digital is bought out by a multinational conglomerate, with staff members facing redundancies. DJ Alan Partridge is not concerned, but DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) convinces Alan to gatecrash a board meeting to persuade the new owners not to fire Pat. When Alan discovers that either he or Pat must go, he writes "JUST SACK PAT" on the flip chart the board are brainstorming on.
While Alan is outside the company party with his assistant, Lynn (Felicity Montagu), Pat enters the station with a shotgun and holds the staff hostage, demanding his job back. The police make Alan a negotiator, and he builds an uneasy rapport with Pat; with Alan's co-presenter Sidekick Simon (Tim Key), they host a radio show during the siege. Alan daydreams of ending the siege heroically, 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, Alan's ego swells because of his pivotal role, and he steals a kiss from his colleague Angela (Monica Dolan).
Alan accidentally locks himself out of the building and loses his trousers trying to get back in through a window. The police realise he is an ineffective negotiator and send in an undercover officer disguised as a pizza delivery man. Alan interrupts and takes the pizzas in himself, and discovers a taser in one of the boxes; an argument erupts between the hostages and the police burst in. Pat escapes in the station's tour bus, bringing Alan and security guard Michael (Simon Greenall).
On the bus, Alan has regained Pat's trust and they continue to host the radio show. However, Pat sees Alan's "JUST SACK PAT" message in a photo and deduces that Alan was behind his redundancy. Alan hides in the bus toilet compartment and escapes in the septic tank.
On Cromer Pier, Pat faces off with Alan and the police, and Michael tries to distract Pat by throwing himself off the pier. Pat tells Alan 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 with Sidekick Simon and Pat calls the show from jail. Alan goes on holiday with Angela and her sons.
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.
- Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge
- Felicity Montagu as Lynn Benfield
- Simon Greenall as Michael the Geordie
- Colm Meaney as Pat Farrell
- Sean Pertwee as SFO Steve Stubbs
- Anna Maxwell Martin as CC Janet Whitehead
- Darren Boyd as Martin Fitch
- Nigel Lindsay as Jason Cresswell
- Karl Theobald as Greg Frampton
- Simon Delaney as Don
- Monica Dolan as Angela Ashbourne
- Tim Key as "Sidekick" Simon Denton
- Paul Blackwell as Police Officer
- Phil Cornwell as Dave Clifton
- Darren Deans as Radio Station Voiceover
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, with input from writers Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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." 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. 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. 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. It was released in the UK by StudioCanal. In March 2013, a teaser trailer for the film revealed the title to be Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
Release and reception
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. Steve Coogan greeted fans at Anglia Square before being whisked away by helicopter to London to attend a full premiere in Leicester Square. 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. As of 22 September 2013, Alpha Papa had grossed a total of £6.12 million at the UK Box Office. It was released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 2 December 2013.
The film received a positive reception. It currently holds an 87% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 73 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." It also holds a Metacritic score of 68 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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." 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."
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." 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?"
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.
On 4 April 2014 it was reported that a sequel is in the works. No details as to the plot or release date have yet been released.
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