Complete A-Z list

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa


Stars: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu, Sean Pertwee, Anna Maxwell Martin

Director: Declan Lowney

Coogan is back on home ground here and boy does it show. More confident and in charge of the comedy than in any of his other ventures, the comedian's original creation is as gauche and gung-ho as ever. Now 55 (Coogan, at 47, struggles a bit to convince us), Alan's still a DJ at a Norfolk radio station, still as gleefully (and unknowingly) as non-PC as ever - 'Forget Jesus. Neil Diamond will always be king of the Jews' - and still the bane of advertisers - 'Banton's butchers: yesterday's meat at today's prices'.

We meet him at his turntable, discussing which is the worst monger 'war, iron, fish or rumour' with Coogan as much at home with Partridge as with a pair of comfortable slippers. But times are changing, a new broom is sweeping clean at the station, and the prime redundancy is between Alan and the older Irish veteran Pat (Meaney), whom Alan sells down the river at a board meeting.

Sacked, Pat goes berserk with a shotgun and takes half the station personnel hostage. Alan, accidentally outside at the time, is collared by the police (led by Pertwee) as an intermediary, and it looks as if our man in Norwich might just become a hero.

Director Lowney maintains a rollicking pace, bringing things to the boil at a shade under 90 minutes and allowing Partridge's bon mots, which are always four times less funny than he thinks they are (conversely making them all the funnier), to fit neatly into what there is of the plot. It isn't exactly great cinema, but, even if it does run a bit like a bumper episode of Coogan's old TV series, Partridge fans really couldn't ask for more.

David Quinlan

UK 2013. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour by deluxe.
89 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 04 Aug 2013