Alan Partridge has sent an email to more than 20,00 BBC staff ahead of his highly anticipated return to the small screen tonight.
The character, created by comedian Steve Coogan and satirist Armando Iannucci, is returning to the BBC after an almost 25-year hiatus with a series called This Time.
It comes 25 years after the character’s chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You was taken off the air in 1994 after he ‘accidentally shot a man dead’ live on TV.
After starring in the parody chat show for six episodes, the Alan Partridge character went on to feature in I’m Alan Partridge from 1997 to 2002, and in the film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in 2013.
In a round robin email, the Norwich DJ – played by Coogan – asks all staff to watch the show at 9.30pm, cheekily adding: ‘I ask every one of this email’s 20,000+ recipients to tune in tonight on BBC1.
‘Even if nobody else in the country does, we’re already hitting the kind of numbers my shows were getting on Sky Atlantic.’
‘Clearing the air!’: Alan Partridge, played by Steven Coogan, sent a cheeky email to more than 20,00 BBC staff ahead of his return to screens tonight
The brash email adds that he hopes to clear the air with his colleagues, and also sends a get well message to John Baskell, who he’s standing in for.
‘Yes, some 24 years after my last presenting gig, the BBC have sidled up to me with a short-term offer to co-present your much-loved magazine show, This Time, standing in for John Baskell who’s been taken ill’.
‘Well, although my diary is as clogged as John’s arteries (get well, John!) I have agreed to drop everything and step up.
It continues: ‘Some of you made clear I wouldn’t be welcome back. A woman who worked in compliance called Karen or Kate or Kath who had long wavy hair and apparently still works here sneered so hard I thought her face would turn inside out.
‘But I am back, as evidenced by this, my own official BBC email address. And with it, I reach out not to gloat, or to settle old scores, or say, “Hey Karen/Kate/Kath, why don’t you kiss my a*** – but to be the bigger man and clear the air of any residual stench.”‘
A screenshot of the email was tweeted by several BBC staff, including Jeremy Vine show producer Tim Johns, with the fun PR ploy gaining more than two thousand retweets.
Alan Partridge, created and played comedian Steve Coogan with the help of satirist Armando Iannucci, is returning to the BBC after a 24 year hiatus with a series called This Time
And savvy staff who replied to the email got a sassy out of office response, from the fictional veteran broadcaster.
‘If your email is urgent, perhaps you should have tried calling instead,’ came the reply.
‘The very fact you were content to type out your query long hand and settle back to wait for a reply suggests it can wait, even if you have put a red exclamation mark next to your email to make it stand out in my inbox. Won’t wash with me, that.’
A screenshot of the email was tweeted by several BBC staff, including Jeremy Vine show producer Tim Johns. And savvy staff who replied to the email got a cheeky out of office response
Alan first turned up in 1991 with a small role in Armando Iannucci’s parody of current affairs broadcasting, On The Hour, on BBC Radio 4.
He was a sports reporter with a nice line in patronising misogyny, utter disdain for the Paralympics, and a worrying obsession with ‘groin strain’ in his football changing-room interviews.
Soon, he had his own spoof chat-show on the same network, Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge, named after his favourite band Abba (who also inspired the show’s catchphrase, Aha!)
The brash email adds he hopes to clear the air with his colleagues, and he also sends a get well message to his new John Baskell (pictured with co-host Jennie, played by Susannah Fielding)
It not only showcased his incompetence, but provided lovely cameos of exactly the kind of guests on such shows.
Speaking about his return to the BBC in an in-character interview for the Radio Times this week, he said: ‘My BBC career might have wilted, and my primary income source might have been from hosting a weekday mid-morning radio show in Norfolk, but I’d very much remained on TV.
‘I’d fronted numerous (four) shows, from military-based quiz shows to state-of-the-nation documentaries, albeit on obscure channels most haven’t heard of, such as UK Conquest, TimeshareTV and Sky Atlantic.’
Giving an in-character interview, Steve Coogan as Alan said ‘My BBC career might have wilted, and my primary income source might have been from hosting a weekday mid-morning radio show in Norfolk’ (Pictured at the World Premiere of Alpha Papa in 2013)
Despite streaming services providing a broader palette, Partridge believes standards have slipped since Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge was dropped from the programming schedule.
‘Everywhere you look there are signs of decline,’ he said. ‘Our newsreaders now stand up, our chat-show hosts don’t chat, and there’s a slipping of standards that has, like low workforce morale, become cancerous.’
He added: ‘I remained content to observe from a distance. But a songbird can only stay muzzled for so long. And what has become clear to me, and the SSC didn’t disagree, is that, without me, mainstream TV has sunk into a funk.’
- This Time with Alan Partridge starts tonight at 9:30pm on BBC One