partridge

While doing the rounds to promote his small role in the second Night at the Museum movie, Steve Coogan stopped by BBC Radio One and spoke to Edith Bowman. It would have been for her not to push him on plans for future movies and this being England, specifically the chance of an Alan Partridge picture.

Here’s Coogan’s response:

Yeah, we are planning on making a movie. We’re talking at the moment. What it is we’re not quite sure. But yes, there are plans afoot to make a film.

More of their back and forth after the break…

…and you’re back in the room.

Next, Bowman asked if he’d worked out a storyline yet, to which Coogan replied:

We have but I’m not going to tell you what it is.

Alan Partridge, if you don’t know (read: if you don’t live in the UK), is perhaps Coogan’s most successful and popular creation. A sad-sack sports presenter turned chat show host turned early morning DJ (and quite distressingly bad at each of these jobs in turn) he first appeared on the radio show On the Hour. When that translated to the TV show The Day Today, Partridge came along. He was popular enough, not to mention extraordinarily rich in comedy potential, that he was then given his own (fake) chatshow and then sitcom.

Some of the supporting characters to crop up in the various series now seem integral to the whole at least to the extent that they’d feel conspicuous if absent. Bowman asked Coogan if any original cast members would appear, and he responded:

Some of them, hopefully. We’ll see. I’ve got to sit down and decide what it is yet. People who like the TV series won’t be disappointed.

Her final question was a good one:

Are you worried about making Alan Partridge funny in a feature-length film rather than just in a normal half-hour TV show?

And the answer:

That’s a very good point. That’s just something you need to be aware of. You need to be aware of that and it might mean you readdress the character, make him slightly more subtle or build up to it in a different way. But that’s certainly something that’s going to be on our minds but I think Alan is complex enough to sustain something longer.

Also as part of this same publicity rush, Coogan appeared on Simon Mayo’s show on BBC Five Live. He mentioned that during his last live tour he had a joke about Michael Winterbottom, the director behind 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story, both of which he had starring roles in. Apparently not a single audience laughed at the gag, which Coogan took as indication that he has two audiences. One of them, he says, loves his character comedy – which would include Alan Partridge – and there’s another, perhaps hipper crowd, aware of his indie film endeavours. The best Partridge film would, I think, bridge the two crowds.

Since premiering at Sundance this year, Armando Iannuci’s In the Loop has already hit UK cinemas to great critical acclaim. Coogan has a small, but very amusing and ultimately crucial role. Iannuci was previously the creator and producer of the various shows to feature Partridge and seems a great choice to direct any feature film version. He would probably do a great deal to ensure the film is sturdy, sharp and relevant – and not just a cash-in exercise or lowest common denominator goof-off.

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