‘Norwich has now embraced Alan’ - writer Armando Iannucci on Partridge’s turnaround

The world premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa at Hollywood Cinema, Anglia Square in Norwich was o

The world premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa at Hollywood Cinema, Anglia Square in Norwich was one of the highlights of 2013. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The co-creator of Alan Partridge has hailed a turnaround in opinion that has seen Norwich come to 'embrace' one of its most famous sons.

Armando Iannucci said the presence of the fictional TV presenter at the city's Christmas lights switch-on – when an image of his face was beamed onto a screen – signalled that Partridge was accepted in his home city once more.

And the surprise appearance at the switch-on of actor Simon Greenall, playing Alan's Geordie friend Michael, was 'all thanks to the generosity of Norwich City Council', the writer told The Guardian.

'I like the way that Norwich has now embraced Alan,' he said.

'It was always rather wary of him. In fact, the mayor 15 years ago was very hostile. He actually said that Alan Partridge had done more damage to Norwich city centre than terrorists could.'

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Norwich took Partridge to its heart again this summer when an online campaign was launched to bring the premiere of his film to Norfolk, resulting in Alpha Papa being screened at Anglia Square hours before the international screening at Leicester Square.

Partridge himself appeared at the premiere before being flown to London by helicopter – as he had always intended. He added: 'Any suggestion I've hastily cobbled together the lunchtime Norwich screening in response to a local Twitter campaign will be met with the full force of the law.'

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Mr Iannucci said: 'My argument has always been that we like Norwich. I've been to Norwich many times and have relatives there.

'We don't really poke fun at Norwich, it's just that Alan lives there. We originally chose Norwich as a place that isn't London and isn't trying to be.'

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