Thursday, February 7, 2013
He is viewed by many as a comedy hero and by others as a smug narcissistic wally.
But there is no doubt the fictional radio and television presenter Alan Partridge, created and played by Steve Coogan, who coined the phrases “A-ha”, “back of the net” and “cashback”, has put Norfolk on the map.
Some may think Mr Coogan has brought ridicule to his adopted county, but Partridge, who has been a huge comedy hit for many years, has earned him an army of fans.
And later this month Mr Coogan will be bringing the character to Sheringham town centre and Cromer Pier to film scenes for the long-awaited film Alan Partridge: The Movie.
Following several rumours about filming in Norfolk and months of secrecy over shooting locations, an excited Sheringham town mayor announced the news of the filming on Tuesday.
Doug Smith said: “The secretary of the chamber of trade and I have been talking to a film production company which will be coming to Sheringham to film a short sequence of an international movie starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge.
“The film crew will spend two days on Cromer Pier before spending one afternoon in Sheringham. They will be with us on Wednesday, February 27, which means Station Approach, Station Road and Church Street will be closed to traffic between 12 and 5pm.”
Mr Smith added: “The crew will set up camp in Station car park. All shops will remain open for pedestrians as normal. They want a busy high street appearance for the film. Debbie Thompson (from Sheringham Little Theatre) has organised 50 acting extras who will earn good money over three days.
“They’re all elderly men and women from Sheringham.”
Mr Smith said the shots would be based around a modern Keystone Cops theme, with the hapless radio presenter being chased by a flotilla of police cars and ambulances, which would be filmed whatever the weather.
Producer of the film, Kevin Loader, spoke about the film yesterday and said outdoor scenes would be shot in Norwich Market Place, around Sheringham High Street and Cromer Pier towards the end of February.
He would not reveal the plot, but said it involved Partridge being chased by police cars from Norwich to Cromer.
“It is quite an intricate sequence,” Mr Loader said.
No other scenes will be filmed in Norfolk and the radio scenes will be shot around the M25.
Mr Loader said: “There is a very strong association between Partridge and Norwich and Norfolk. When we were discussing the film a couple of years ago, people said surely you will send Alan to Nashville or Dubai, but it was Steve Coogan’s very strong intention that the movie was shot in Norfolk and Norwich. We want to keep it in the heartland of the character. We are keen to keep the connection going.”
He added: “We are having a lot of fun. It is hard work but we are very pleased with how funny it is. There are a lot of laughs on set.”
The title, Alan Partridge: The Movie, produced by Baby Cow Productions, is a working title and filming started on January 25.
Mr Loader said the film has cost £4.5m to make and involves about 20 actors and several extras. He added that no release date has been confirmed, but said the film would probably be shown at cinemas in August.
Alan Partridge became a favourite for comedy fans in BBC television shows including Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge in 1994 and I’m Alan Partridge in 1997.
The latter programme focused on the presenter’s failing career and his stint on the fictional Radio Norwich.
In May last year, Armando Iannucci, who helped create Partridge, confirmed that the character was finally going to have his own film.
Two years ago, when rumours about the film first surfaced, he confirmed that if it got the go-ahead, it would be shot in Norfolk: “We’re not going mad and doing an Alan-goes-to-Hollywood thing. It’s very much Alan in Norwich.
“Putting Norwich on the map. Well, somebody’s map.”
In June last year Mr Iannucci said the plot of the Partridge film would see the hapless presenter doing battle with a media giant after his local digital TV channel is taken over and renamed Shape.