2013 has been the year of Steve Coogan. He voiced a character in the year’s best animated film, Despicable Me 2, played Paul Raymond in The Look of Love and co-wrote and starred in the excellent Philomena. Most importantly for his fans however, 2013 was also the year Coogan’s most beloved character Alan Partridge made his big screen debut after several radio, TV and online shows, and even a fictional biography over two decades.
After being fired by the new owners of North Norfolk Digital, disgruntled and depressed DJ Pat (Colm Meaney) brings a shotgun to his last broadcast, takes hostages and refuses to negotiate with anyone but Alan Partridge. While the stakes are higher than ever before, the genius of Alpha Papa lies in its simplicity, its ability to stay true to the character and the brilliant writing. The jokes come thick and fast and hit at a remarkable rate.
Any concerns that Partridge might not translate well to the big screen disappear already during the opening credits, which show Alan driving to work and enthusiastically mouthing the words to Roachford’s Cuddly Toy. Alpha Papaalso avoids simply repeating old jokes and the supporting cast (Meaney and Felicity Montagu, who reprises her role as Alan’s long suffering assistant Lynn, stand out) gets plenty of moments to shine.
Overall, the film is brilliantly constructed, hilarious and one of the best comedies in years; as Alan Partridge himself would say: “Back of the net!”