Matt Adcock’s film review: A-ha and ha ha, Alan Partidge makes a welcome big screen debut

Alan Partridge - Alpha PapaAlan Partridge - Alpha Papa
Alan Partridge - Alpha Papa
This message comes to you from the home of international broadcasting and the world famous nerve centre for all things chat, That’s right, North Norfolk Digital…

I’m Alan Partridge (A-ha!) and this is my trusty sidekick Simon (Tim Key) and today we’ll be asking the important questions. Which are the worse kind of mongers – iron, fish, or war? And for all my fans out there I’m delighted to let you know that I’ll be appearing at your local cinema this week.

Yes, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is the long-awaited big screen debut for Norfolk’s one-man chat machine, and this is his most desperate hour.

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His beloved radio station has been taken over by corporate giants who plan to rebrand North Norfolk Digital as ‘Shape FM – the way you want it to be’.

With cost-cutting high on the agenda the new board decide that either Alan or equally uncool DJ Pat Farrell (Colm ‘Gene Hunt in the US version of Life on Mars’ Meaney) must go. Of course, Alan wastes no time in telling them: “Just sack Pat!”

Alas, after being given 30 minutes to clear his desk, Pat goes on a violent gun rampage at the radio station and takes hostages.

To make matters worse, he’ll only negotiate with the police through his old broadcasting buddy Alan.

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So the scene is set for massive misadventure on a scale that only our smart casual jumper-wearing hero can deal with.

And the good news is that it’s an absolute blast of Alan-esque comedy as he bumbles his way through a life and death situation which might just bag him the prized breakfast show – as long as he survives.

It’s packed with laugh out loud moments and a genuinely witty script that jams in cutting social jibes such as when he advises Simon: “Never criticise Muslims. Only ever Christians, and maybe the Jews a little bit.” You’ll be busy spotting the visual gags as well as cringing at Partridge’s self-obsessed foolishness.

The action cracks along to a startling climax, which along the way sees Alan making a trouserless appearance on national TV news and the excellent Felicity Montagu back as Alan’s long-suffering assistant Lynn, who herself becomes something of a media sensation.

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British TV comedy doesn’t always work as a cinematic experience but Steve Coogan’s greatest creation is on top form here and there’s plenty to relish for long-term fans as well as newcomers to the whole Alan Partridge phenomenon.