Video: Alan Partridge campaign begins outside Norwich City Hall
14:07 22 June 2013
Ah Ha! Fans say it would be the perfect PR stunt - an open top double-decker bus ride through the city, towards a red carpet finale at Anglia Square, not Leicester Square, for Alan Partridge’s movie premiere.
With posters and placards, Partridge lovers gathered outside City Hall today to call for Alan Partridge to hold the premiere of his movie, Alpha Papa in Norwich, where his character is based.
What started as a quirky idea between two friends has grown into a campaign attracting thousands of fans on Facebook and retweets from Ricky Gervais and Steve Coogan’s company, Baby Cow Productions.
Rob Wilkes, 39, who started the campaign with his friend Rafiq Turnbull, 40, said Norwich deserved to host the event instead of the bright lights of London - ‘in Anglia Square not Leicester Square.’
The two men, both Partridge fans, were overwhelmed with the response to the campaign.
Mr Wilkes, a graphic designer, said: “It’s been an absolute whirlwind but the next step will be to go national.
“We didn’t expect so many people to like the page, we expected 500 at most but it’s just taken off.”
“The people of Norwich demand this - this is our time for Norwich, we want to rally the people of Norwich to say he’s ours - we deserve it.”
Fans said it would be a PR stunt not to be missed, and that it was time Partridge gave something back to Norwich.
“More people would turn out to a premiere in Norwich than London,” said Mr Turnbull, “people would crowd the streets.”
With numbers creeping up to 4,000 in the last 48 hours, the two friends hope the campaign will go viral.
“He’s parodied this city for so long, London gets everything - this is a film about a much loved Norwich character and so the premiere should be here.”
The film, Alpha Papa, will be released on August 7, bringing back the much loved fictional radio and television presenter, portrayed by comedian, Steve Coogan.
And with fans eager for its release, highlights of the campaign efforts included a larger than life superman cut with Alan Partridge’s face attached.
Mr Wilkes said: “People behind the movie should embrace the campaign, he should be embraced as a cult hero here in Norwich.”
Mr Turnbull, a shop owner, said: “If we had the premiere here, we would invite Roger Moore, Bill Odie, Anthea Turner and Abba would DJ at the after party, Alan would love that.”
The campaign caused quite a sensation when fans flocked to the hall in their lunch breaks.
John Taylor, 42, of Bluebell Road, said: “I obviously had to come down, the one name people associate with Norwich is Alan Partridge so obviously the premiere has to be in Norwich.”
Siofra Connor, 32, an editorial assistant, of Queens Road, said: “I’ve come to support bringing something exciting to Norwich, and Alan Partridge is really exciting.
Organisers suggested Anglia Square as the perfect location for the big event.
Trevor Wicks, director of Hollywood Cinema, said: “I think it’s an excellent idea - I do like the tag line, it’s in the spirit of Alan Partridge.
“We would certainly make ourselves available should the premiere be held in Norwich - it sounds great, I just hope it’s not too late.
“We’ll start giving the place a new coat of paint!”