Alan Partridge is back on our screens this coming Monday in This Time with Alan Partridge, and Steve Coogan’s beloved alter ego has told the Radio Times that he is returning “to save British television”.
“Everywhere you look there are signs of decline. Our newsreaders now stand up, our chat-show hosts don’t chat, and there’s a slipping of standards that has, like low workforce morale, become cancerous.
“I remained content to observe from a distance. But a songbird can only stay muzzled for so long. And what has become clear to me, and the SSC didn’t disagree, is that, without me, mainstream TV has sunk into a funk,” he said.
Partridge also said he was disappointed to have not been featured on the prestigious magazine’s cover (until now) since 1995 and also discussed his infamous fallout with the BBC (when his series Knowing Me, Knowing You was cancelled after a guest was fatally shot live on air).
“I went from appearing in four issues in 1994 and 95 (3.9 per cent of the total) to no issues since (0 per cent).
“That’s a drop-off of some 3.9 per cent. Despite being perplexed by what most would agree is a stunning lack of class, I kept my counsel, sure that the RaTi had its reasons,” Partridge (Coogan) said.
“But fast-forward to 2011 and the wrap party for series who’s-even-counting of Watchdog, the BBC consumer rights show, which I still think should have been called “Ombudsman.”
“There, I bump into the then-editor of Radio Times and casually josh with him about his publication dropping me like a dog some 20 years earlier. Why, I casually asked him ten or 11 times, had it done that?”
“Alan,” he said, “it’s because you’re not on the TV any more.” Well, I roared with laughter and anger but mainly laughter for ages. Not on TV? That was just wrong,” he continued.
But Partridge insists that he is still a major media figure, having continued to front his Norfolk radio show as well as an incredible four television shows ‘albeit on obscure channels’:
“My BBC career might have wilted, and my primary income source might have been from hosting a weekday mid-morning radio show in Norfolk, but I’d very much remained on TV.
“I’d fronted numerous (four) shows, from military-based quiz shows to state-of-the-nation documentaries, albeit on obscure channels most haven’t heard of, such as UK Conquest, TimeshareTV and Sky Atlantic.”
His new show This Time with Alan Partridge will be a six-part magazine chat show which he promises in the official BBC Q&A press release will include a “phalanax of fresh ideas”:
“Fear not, I’m not going to eff with a winning formula. But I do have a phalanx of fresh ideas that’ll benefit the show no end, including the introduction of my longtime radio sidekick Simon Denton. Adept at reading out tweets and providing a sideways look at news, he’ll be our social media reader-outer.”
This Time with Alan Partridge returns to BBC1 on Monday 25th February at 9:30pm.