This Time With Alan Partridge: The Complete Series – The DVDfever Review – Steve Coogan

This Time With Alan Partridge
This Time With Alan Partridge sees the hapless presenter return to the BBC, and I was already in stitches from the trailer simply when he was forever being ignored while asking for a glass of water, just as he was about to go live (which is how the first episode actually begins).

It’s also the first time ever that the Norwich-based former sports reporter has had a series go out on BBC1. Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge and I’m Alan Partridge both went out on BBC2, as has the brilliant 2013 movie, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, so it always feels like the BBC have been about as kind to Coogan’s character as Tony Hayers was when he wouldn’t give him a second series and was forced to deal with cheese being pushed into his face.

This Time is clearly a spoof of the irritant that is The One Show, which has polluted the schedules since 2007, and still has a theme tune which ends with a sound that sounds like someone being sick. And as long as Alan doesn’t start tweeting young women pictures of his manhood like Jason Manford, he should be fine.

Throughout the 30 minutes, I like that as they cut to a piece of pre-recorded footage, we don’t see that, but instead see what presenters Partridge and Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding) are chatting about in the meantime. I wonder how true it is? 😀

Well, this happens most of the time, but the first episode does also include a piece made by Alan about hygiene which we do see in full. Meanwhile, their guests include Mid Morning Matters‘ Sidekick Simon (Tim Key), Alice Clunt (Cariad Lloyd) and Alan’s PA, Lynn Benfield (Felicity Montagu), also makes her presence felt.



I could go to town and list a ton of one-liners and jokes which gave me belly-laughs in this, but that would be easy, and quite frankly, it’s the way he tells them. A lot of them come right out of the blue and can only be delivered by The Man Who Thinks He’s It. However, I will note that there’s a scene where he inadvertently comes out with the C-word like the James Naughtie on Radio 4, when he was introducing an interview with then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who was talking about broadband.

Steve Coogan is note-perfect as always whether it’s in his dialogue or how contorts his face. He also frequently comes out with random, wittering anecdotes… rather like Richard Madeley often does when he goes off Partridge-style…

If I could change anything, then if they’re going for a purely The One Show-style feel, then there’s no handful of audience whooping along like you normally get, and it all feels a little too quiet in the studio if they’re trying to recreate the show exactly.

That programme has around 20 people as an ‘audience’, who all stand up just out of sight for the most part, but even when you can’t see them, you can hear them react. There’s no audience like that here, so that aspect makes it feel flat. Thankfully, that means that no dialogue is obscured, but overall it feels more like a BBC2 show than a BBC1 show and I’m wondering if the usual BBC1 audience won’t *get* that. Still, it could always move to BBC2 for a second series if it happens*.

(*Go on, give him a second series!)

Of course, all six episodes will be in the can, so my suggestion will go unnoticed. Perhaps for series 2?

Check out Alan’s open letter to the BBC below, “Clearing the air”.

Also, the programme continues into – and concludes at the end of – the closing credits, so thankfully, we avoid the BBC squashing whilst babbling over the closing credits. It’s high time that was a thing again…

UPDATE 27.2.19: After Bradley Nook Farm won a BAFTA for their documentary 73 Cows, BBC Breakfast’s Jayne McCubbin went full Partridge on the day…

“Smell my BAFTA, you mother!” – Jayne McCubbin goes full Partridge on BBC Breakfast (27.2.19)


UPDATE Episode 2 now does have an audience in the background this time, but Steve Coogan still shines as Alan Partridge, going off the cuff way too often, as he and the team mourn the loss of presenter John Baskell, who Alan was brought in to only temporarily replace. It wasn’t quite as brilliant as the first episode, but was still fantastic, and a priceless moment was one I missed the first time, but it was captured and tweeted here:

UPDATE: Episode 3 was, again, a very good one, bringing in how the correct way for a certain phrase is “None of us IS perfect”, the trauma of a beheaded chicken in a car park, the dodgy CGI of him as a boy and the sandwich moment.

Having an panel, again, with a regular set of members also reminds me (again) of The Wright Stuff / Jeremy Vine, since they clearly can’t have anything better to do on a daily basis.

but while I did enjoy it, it does feel like it’s lacking a certain something. Again, that’s down to the lack of the traditional One Show audience reacting to what’s going on, so it all feels a bit stilted at times. Perhaps it would be better if This Time… was just part of an Alan Partridge series rather than the entire 30 minutes each week.

Also, Alan Partridge is famous for his regular faux-pas, but while these are understandable during live TV or his radio shows, it doesn’t quite ring true when they’re brought into pre-recorded segments.

UPDATE: Episode 4 saw a much more consistent 30 minutes, and one which had a number of bellylaugh moments, including an impromptu song at the end, and I won’t repeat the words here, but it did remind me of Phoenix Nights’ “Send the buggers back”, which also caught those in charge by surprise and left them aghast.

Episode 5 saw Alan Partridge doing his bit for the #MeToo movement. What can go wrong? Everything…

And the Houses of Parliament has “600 members inside her”. Reference is made to eating soap, and Alan says, “My Dad made me do that, once. I had bubbles in my sick.”

There were a handful of bellylaughs, but the actual #MeToo topic seemed mostly forgotten, given how much a thing was made about it at the start.

However, it does look like this series has been slightly delayed, since a reference was made to it now being 2018. Love Alan’s lips, though…

Episode 6 brought the series to a close, and after Alan annoyed Jenny and stopped her from wanting to be on camera, Alan calling in Sidekick Simon to co-present, there were some jokes in this, but nothing which really stood out or made me laugh big-time.

The programme had a potentially big moment to rival Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge‘s finale when he accidentally shot a guest, but this time (ahem), when it came to him talking to a woman who could possibly fall from a dangerous ledge, the whole thing… fell flat (pun not intended), as she got cut off, and Alan only knew he had a potentially big meeting with the Executive Producer… finally concluding with a request for a glass of water, which is where the series began.

So, a rather lame ending to a (by Partridge standards) partially-disappointing series.

This Time With Alan Partridge continues next Monday on BBC1 at 9.30pm. The series is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on April 8th.

You can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.


This Time With Alan Partridge – Series Trailer



Episode 1 Score: 9/10
Episode 2 Score: 8/10
Episode 3 Score: 7.5/10
Episode 4 Score: 8/10
Episode 5 Score: 8/10
Episode 6 Score: 5/10

Directors: Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons
Producer: Ted Dowd
Writers: Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons

Cast:
Alan Partridge: Steve Coogan
Jennie Gresham: Susannah Fielding
Lynn Benfield: Felicity Montagu
Simon Denton: Tim Key
Alice Clunt: Cariad Lloyd
Jean Chaudhary: Priyanga Burford
Ruth Duggan: Lolly Adefope
Hactivist: Liam Williams


This Time With Alan Partridge

Previously on DVDfever:

February 17th:

This Time With Alan Partridge sees the presenter being handed a career lifeline – the chance to stand in (temporarily) as co-host on This Time, a weekday magazine show. But can he capitalise on the opportunity?

Due to the sudden illness of its regular host, BBC One magazine show This Time welcomes Alan Partridge as its guest presenter. A chance for the consummate broadcaster to flit effortlessly between seal pups, hand washing and cyberterrorism, and it begins on BBC One from Monday February 25th.

Episode 1 cast and crew details below, and the review will go online after the first episode has been broadcast:

Directors: Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons
Producer: Ted Dowd
Writers: Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons

Cast:
Alan Partridge: Steve Coogan
Jennie Gresham: Susannah Fielding
Lynn Benfield: Felicity Montagu
Simon Denton: Tim Key
Alice Clunt: Cariad Lloyd
Jean Chaudhary: Priyanga Burford
Ruth Duggan: Lolly Adefope
Hactivist: Liam Williams

Check out the trailer below:


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