Socialist Worker

Alan Partridge returns in familiar blend of satire and slapstick

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2752

Steve Coogans performance is pitch perfect in This Time with Alan Partridge

Steve Coogan's performance is pitch perfect in This Time with Alan Partridge (Pic: Baby Cow)

Back of the net. Norwich’s finest export is back for a second series where he is so desperate to belong—in front of a TV camera.

Alan Partridge, played by Steve Coogan, has crawled his way out of the career doldrums on local radio and is now presenting This Time.

It’s a satirical look at the mundane magazine programmes such as This Morning and The One Show that litter the schedules.

Alongside co-host Jennie Gresham, Partridge promises that it “covers the spectrum of human life, from aqua aerobics to abortion, from zebras to Zionism”.

There are limitations to the format. There are only so many times we can see Partridge worrying behind the scenes about the way he looks or if the producers like him.

But the strength of the cast more than makes up for this. Co-presenter Jennie, played by Susannah Fielding, and Partridge just about manage to keep their resentment at bay.

And loyal assistant Lynn, played by Felicity Montagu, pops up periodically to massage Partridge’s ego.

But as ever it’s loveable Simon Denton, played by Tim Key, who steals every scene he is in.

He can’t quite manage to work out the simple technology used on set, but my god he is trying.

The entire effort just about manages to strike the balance between riffing on the mundane and collapsing into slapstick.

Nowhere is this more obvious than Partridge’s item about staying with a group of silent monks, which predictably descends into farce.

Partridge’s casual confidence with which he interrupts the expert guests, his occasional slide into after-dinner speaker, is pitch perfect.

For those who might have spent furlough watching their fair share of daytime TV, This Time is likely to hit just right.

This Time with Alan Partridge Starts Friday 30 April, 9.30pm, BBC1

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