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Revealed: How close Norwich came to having a giant Alan Partridge statue

PUBLISHED: 11:03 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:02 06 April 2020

Steeve Coogan as Alan Partridge at the Norwich premiere of the film Alpha Papa. Right, what a statue of Alan could have looked like. Pictures: Archant

Steeve Coogan as Alan Partridge at the Norwich premiere of the film Alpha Papa. Right, what a statue of Alan could have looked like. Pictures: Archant

Archant

He is the fictional character that has put Norwich on the map - some might say for all the wrong reasons.

A mock-up of what an Alan Partridge statue in Norwich could have looked like, printing in this newspaper in 2004. Picture: Archant libraryA mock-up of what an Alan Partridge statue in Norwich could have looked like, printing in this newspaper in 2004. Picture: Archant library

But could Alan Partridge’s notoriety - from his signature catchphrase ‘Aha’ to his cringey antics - ever have actually resulted in him being immortalised in stone in the form of a city centres statue?

Realistically, the answer is no.

However, in the early years of this century it was at the very least a prospect that was discussed in the city.

In 2004, UKTV G2 asked viewers which comedy legend they would most like to see immortalised as a statue - and 85pc of the voters selected the fictitious Radio Norwich deejay.

Clips of Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge character will be used by the BBC to encourage people to stay at home during the lockdown. Picture: Paul John BayfieldClips of Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge character will be used by the BBC to encourage people to stay at home during the lockdown. Picture: Paul John Bayfield

And following the resounding victory, the channel attempted to press forward with the plans - even enlisting the services of Norfolk sculptor Steve Price to create a prototype.

The proposal even saw a resistance campaign launched by a group opposing the notion.

Alas, the plan never materialised, which various roadblocks - including the prospect of going through the planning application process - standing in its way.

A spokesman for UK TV said: “Everyone at Gold is a big fan of Alan’s work - but it is possible this was originally Alan’s idea.

Life sized statue of Alan Partridge  comes to Norwich for Comic ReliefLife sized statue of Alan Partridge comes to Norwich for Comic Relief

“Gold will have reached out to Alan’s people - a message was left with someone called Lynn - but no-face-to-face meetings ever took place.

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“The world of television can be a multi-faced and complicated industry and it is possible Alan’s contract with Radio Norwich at the time had an exclusivity clause. This would have prohibited Alan from using Alan’s unique physical features for promotional purposes.

“Alan Partridge is perhaps the hero Norwich deserves, but not the one it needs right now. However, that said, if Alan wins the judges’ vote in Golds new programme Britain’s Greatest Comedy Characters, which will air in May, then perhaps we’ll re-look at it.”

Mr Price said the project was “nonsense” and did not wish to discuss it further.

In 2015, Mr Partridge did have a statue of sorts in the city - in the form of a large cardboard cut-out to raise funds for Comic Relief.

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