'This Time with Alan Partridge' S2 is an awkward delight

·Contributor
·4-min read

Watch: Trailer for This Time With Alan Partridge S2

It’s incredible to think that Alan Partridge celebrates his 30th birthday this year.

And that after three decades of all different types of radio and TV shows, podcasts, a feature film and shorts, Steve Coogan’s gormless presenter is still one of the funniest characters on television.

He marks his special anniversary with a new series of This Time with Alan Partridge (on BBC One from 30 April), a stunning The One Show-style return to mainstream telly for Norwich’s finest blazer fan.

Read more: The secret behind Alan Partridge's enduring appeal

The first season, which aired in 2019, was a hit, marked by comedy shock moments like the insane IRA rebel singalong led by Coogan's Partridge alleged lookalike Martin Brennan.

This Time With Alan Partridge S2 - Lynn (Felicity Montagu), Jennie (Susannah Fielding), Simon (Tim Key), Ruth Duggan (Lolly Adefope), Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), Tiff (Natasia Demetriou) (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)
This Time With Alan Partridge S2 - Lynn (Felicity Montagu), Jennie (Susannah Fielding), Simon (Tim Key), Ruth Duggan (Lolly Adefope), Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), Tiff (Natasia Demetriou) (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)

But with such a long-lasting character, the question will always be if they can keep that standard up every time.

Fans shouldn’t worry – the opening episode of series two is one of the best comedy half hours of the year so far.

Created again by Coogan with collaborators Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons: it’s sensational.

In the new series, Alan's cheesy magazine show This Time is currently under new management, with a cool young producer’s arrival setting the inept host on a mission to stay relevant and stay employed.

Jennie (Susannah Fielding) and Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) in This Time With Alan Partridge S2 (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)
Jennie (Susannah Fielding) and Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) in This Time With Alan Partridge S2 (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)

Partridge is always at his best when he’s under severe pressure, and this is awkwardness gold.

From an exclusive TV interview piece with people who can’t talk, to the worst family reunion moment in live TV history, it's the best cringe comedy this side of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

You’d think that after 30 years of watching the most annoying human on television, we’d all be sick of him. But somehow, Coogan and the writing team make him at once incredibly infuriating and somewhat endearing - even if just a little bit. He's a social media catchphrase — "Accidental Partridge" — a ubiquitous meme and catchphrases like 'Monkey Tennis' have have stuck around for decades.

Simon (Tim Key) and Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) in This Time With Alan Partridge S2 (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)
Simon (Tim Key) and Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) in This Time With Alan Partridge S2 (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)

Partridge began life in radio spoof news show On the Hour, developed by Coogan and Armando Iannucci and followed it to TV when it became The Day Today. Partridge got his own radio chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You, which then also became a TV smash when it jumped to BBC2 in 1994.

Read more: Looking back at Alan Partridge's finest moment

Since then, his TV shows have included sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, and Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge. The character spun off for a fictional biography book, but most successfully in the feature film Alpha Papa.

Steve Coogan as the irrepressible Alan Partridge. (BBC)
Steve Coogan as the irrepressible Alan Partridge. (BBC)

The acclaimed comedy is regarded as one of the best TV to film spin offs ever, and featured Partridge in action hero mood when crazed Irish DJ colleague Colm Meany takes over the radio station in an armed siege.

He’s since appeared in podcasts, and various specials, but had a proper return to terrestrial TV primetime in 2019 with the first series of This Time.

A smash hit, the show saw him reunite with long suffering assistant Lynn (Felicity Montagu) and costar flunky Simon, played again by Tim Key.

Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), Jennie (Susannah Fielding), Sam Chatwin (Simon Farnaby) in This Time With Alan Partridge S2 (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)
Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), Jennie (Susannah Fielding), Sam Chatwin (Simon Farnaby) in This Time With Alan Partridge S2 (Baby Cow/Gary Moyes)

Susannah Fielding stars as his co-host Jennie Gresham, and a source of constant awkward comedy for the ever desperate Alan.

Their rivalry culminates in a fantastically cringey finale that’ll have you laughing through the fingers covering your face.

This Time With Alan Partridge, airs on BBC One, 9.30pm, Fridays from 30 April.

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