Campaigners overwhelmed with success of Alan Partridge Premiere

The Alan Partridge film premier at the Hollywood Cinema where fans and the press turned out in force

The Alan Partridge film premier at the Hollywood Cinema where fans and the press turned out in force to welcome the star. Rob Wilkes and Rafiq Turnbull celebrate after their Facebook campaign brought the premier to Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

'Job Done!' - That was the verdict of Rafiq Turnbull, after the success of yesterday's world premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in Anglia Square. 'If there was any apprehension before, now Alan knows the people of Norwich love him - we all have him in our hearts.'

And the spectacle that descended on the city couldn't have happened without the hard work of the two Norwich Partridge fans, Mr Turnbull, 40, and his friend Rob Wilkes, 39.

The men started an internet campaign which, after it gained more than 7,000 likes on Facebook, caught the attention of the film's distributers, Studio Canal.

Dubbed 'Anglia Square not Leicester Square', it sought to bring Norwich's favourite fictional radio presenter home, and give him a grand Norwich welcome.

And with thousands showing up to witness the world premiere, the two campaigners could not be happier.

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Mr Turnbull said: 'It was an amazing day and great hearing him say how much he loved Norwich.'

The #AngliaSquarenotLeicesterSquare team have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to spread the message, and selling t-shirts, have raised hundreds of pounds for a local owl sanctuary.

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Alan, when asked what message he would like to send to the campaigners, said: 'I would like to say to them, thank you, you are noble people, you are testament to the power of both the internet and the power of free speech which is something we enjoy in this country and is something we should value and protect and treasure.

'They are great people. We are here. We are here because of them so I salute them. I would salute all of them individually but there isn't time.'

Looking back on the day, Mr Wilkes, a graphic designer, said: 'It has been a crazy whirlwind - I don't think the day could have gone any better.

'It wasn't purely down to us though, there were lots of people that helped the campaign gain momentum.

'The crowds made the day - it almost felt like Nottinghill Carnival - hats off to everyone that made it happen!'

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