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Not sure why this was originally made and in what context it was shown
on TV but it does seem to have a home in the DVD extras of this series.
This short film is one of those pieces that minor celebrities (ie
regional or national TV presenters of news, weather or light
entertainment) will always do for the BBC as part of a programme like
The One Show or Countryfile; you know the sort of thing fluff
featuring them doing some activity that makes them appear normal but
yet also interesting. In Partridge's case this is a feature on his
rambling, in particular the rambling he does on Christmas Day morning
It doesn't offer any big laughs or particularly embarrassing moments in the way that his chat show did but it does nail the character perfectly and provide lots of lightly comic touches and moments. The pain in the character is there in little throwaway lines about doing stuff by himself as a child or his family making excuses for not coming with him on his ramble and, while the end does lay that on a bit thick, it is this convincingly pained and monstrous character that makes the short worth seeing. Coogan does well again, making Partridge feel real, giving out little tells and reveals with a natural air that makes the character more interesting than the simple sports presenter gag that he once was (although that is unfair on The Day Today but you know what I mean by comparison).
The direction is spot on for this type of TV thing obvious shots, staged walking or looking (which Coogan does wonderfully badly) and "clever" shots that are not as clever or creation as the low level "director on first shoot" thinks they are (through the bars of the gate). Yes it looks cheap and rather corny but that is the point. This short hits its target well then and, while not hilariously funny, it is a good spoof of that type of thing while also showing us more of Partridge in self-important, totally un-self-aware but yet pained form.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In this short, filmed between "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "I'm Alan
Partridge," Coogan spoofs the celebrities-are-just-like-us
part-interview part-fluff of Evening Magazine or daytime talk-shows.
Removed from the laugh-tracks of IAP and KMKYWAP, and allowed to blather both directly at the camera and in a voice over, this short becomes a much more intimate look at Alan Partridge. There is still some slapstick physical comedy (Alan falling off of a fence or tripping), and some funny Alan musings ("I want to make that absolutely clear: I am not Jesus."), but there is also a much darker tone to this piece, a melancholy hinted at in IAP and KMKYWAP, but often lost in the over-the-top antics and the canned studio laughter.
This faux-interview format is complete with pitch-perfect camera work mimicking the "fancy" shots these types of programs attempt to employarty shots of trees, a zoom out through a fence, and staged takes of Alan pondering. This works very well for these five minutes, and would be infeasible to use for an entire series, but the quality and consistency of IAP could have benefited from going in this quieter, lonelier, and often funnier direction.
Excellent short spoof documentary of Norwich. Classic Coogan. Classic
All-round excellent writing was involved in the production of this short-film and I am now looking forward to the Alan Partridge movie.
Steve Coogan is quite simply a show-business and comedy phenomenon and his glittering radio and TV series along with legendary stand-up performances such as his fantastic The Man Who Thinks He's It which I gladly attended back in 1998 when I was 11 years old and I loved it!
Well done Mr. Coogan, Mr. Iannuci, Mr. Marber and everyone else involved with the writing and production of this short film. Coogan has encouraged me to enter the world of alternative comedy writing and just looking back at his career makes me confident in succeeding in this career area.
I'm not sure for what purposes this short was produced. It seems like
the kind of thing Alan Partridge would do for Comic Relief or
something. It was made after his talk show but before the docu-sitcom
that followed in 1997 so I believe that Steve Coogan was trying to
experiment with the character a bit.
The short involves no more than Alan taking a stroll through the countryside on a misty December morning. He comments on how he's not allowed to walk on Mike Oldfield's estate, his idea for vending machines to be built into hedges to cut out the need for chippie vans and how miserable he was at college.
If your familiar with Alan you'll know that he's a monster. But this is only funny when you realize he's just a victim of his own extreme ignorance and narrow-mindedness. But this short is actually a bit uncomfortable and is the first time that Steve Coogan really makes Alan Partridge look like a disturbed loner. This little quirk may have worked well in small doses but as we got to series 2 of I'm Alan Partridge it put me right off the character. I don't really find this funny or fitting. As a comedy character I think that Alan Partridge is great but as a tragi-comedy figure I can't bring myself to laugh at anything he says or does. And this short was the first time Coogan took the character in that mis-direction.
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