Go Go Aha! - readers want Alan Partridge as Norwich gorilla

An artist's impression of how an Alan Partridge gorilla might look An artist's impression of how an Alan Partridge gorilla might look

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
5:36 PM

GoGo...Aha! That could soon be the word on the street around Norwich if a poll to find a replacement to the Freddie Mercury gorilla which had to be removed is anything to go by.

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Organisers of the GoGoGorillas! fundraising art trail are looking to replace Freddie Radio Go Go Gorilla who was removed yesterday after the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an Aids charity set up in memory of the iconic Queen lead singer, claimed it misrepresented his image.

The decision to remove the gorilla from outside the Forum caused outrage and even resulted in the band’s guitarist Brian May tweeting it was “outrageous and petty”.

But with organisers and the gorilla’s sponsor Brandbank, a Norwich-based digital content company, remaining tight-lipped about the identity of the replacement gorilla, we asked our readers to vote on who they would like to see in Freddie’s place.

And the runaway favourite, according to readers, is Norwich’s favourite fictional radio presenter Alan Partridge who will be in the city on July 24 for the world premier of his new £4.5m movie Alpha Papa which will be held in Anglia Square.

But Partridge could be making an earlier appearance in the city - on the front of a gorilla sculpture - some time next week if readers in our online poll are granted their wishes.

The comic creation polled 32pc of the vote among readers who took part in the survey with Wimbledon champion Andy Murray second with 19pc, Stephen Fry third with 17pc, departing Canaries skipper Grant Holt, who will be plying his trade with Wigan next season fourth with 16pc and cookery queen Delia Smith in fifth place on 14pc.

Rafiq Turnbull, who together with Rob Wilkes organised the campaign to get the Partridge film premier in Norwich, said he would be a perfect replacement for the singing superstar - if the Freddie gorilla had to go.

He said: “It’s a bit silly that they can’t keep it but if it can’t be Freddie and that’s final then Alan is a suitable stand-in for Freddie.

“It fits in perfectly - Alan is coming home in a couple of weeks time so what better than to paint a gorilla in his honour. It could be a promotional tool for the film and may raise awareness although I will be amazed if there are people who don’t know about it.”

As previously reported the Mercury Phoenix Trust claimed the Freddie-like sculpture misrepresented the singer’s image and asked the gorilla be removed and repainted.

No-one at the charity was available for comment.

The sculpture, is one of 53 designed apes to have taken up residence at sites across the city as part of the project, which is raising funds for Break and Born Free’s project to help lowland gorillas in the Congo.

As well as the 53 gorilla life-size sculptures on the trail there are also an additional 67 baby gorillas, painted by more than 60 local schools, making the public art trail the largest of its kind in England this summer.

For more details visit www.gogogorillas.co.uk

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