Partridge has washed up on local radio back in Norwich and, while he is still hopefully of getting back onto the television, he is filled with a certain amount of self-loathing and hatred associated with his efforts to do so. Of course all of this is under his paper-thin veneer of superficial smugness and warmth a pretence that he cannot maintain when put under the slightest pressure. This is what makes it both funny and engaging because Partridge is a wonderful character not obviously enough of a monster to make the viewer hate him but certainly enough of one to prevent pity creeping in and stifling the laughs. And it is funny funnier than Knowing Me Knowing You. Partridge is cowardly, keen to please people while also hating them for them being in a position of power, or being in a position where he needs to be nice to them, or just when they do not treat him the way he wants in return. When he cracks it is always a joy to watch because not only is he unpleasant but he is comically pathetic with it. The writing of this is spot on and the dialogue and scripting matches the tragicomic air of the scenarios.
Of course Coogan delivers this perfectly and gives a great performance where he gets his character spot on but yet also manages to have great comic timing. The supporting cast all do good work around him with the hotel staff, fellow DJ and of course his long-suffering and put-upon assistant all being convincing in how they deal with Partridge pity in some scenes but mostly it is tolerance with a slice of mockery, which is about right.
I'm Alan Partridge is a great series. By moving out of the confines of the chat show the writers are able to do more with the character not anything that is "new" to viewers of his mock chat show but they do it in a way that is funnier, cleverer and that makes for a much more engaging and satisfying comedy series. I'm not sure about the proposed Partridge movie project on the table for the near future but certainly season 1 has been strong enough to make me look forward to getting season 2.