‘No hard feelings’ - BBC staff receive apology letter from Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge at a book signing in Norwich. Photo: Paul John Bayfield.

Alan Partridge at a book signing in Norwich. Photo: Paul John Bayfield. - Credit: Archant

This is what Alan Partridge had to say before his return to the BBC tonight for the first time since the 1990s.

Norwich's favourite fictional radio DJ and TV personality Alan Partridge is once again due to stride into the spotlight as his new series This Time With Alan Partridge debuts on BBC One tonight at 9.30pm.

Today, BBC staff received a lengthy email from the comedy character, played uncannily convincingly by Steve Coogan, stating that he wished to 'clear the air' before his long-awaiting return to the screen.

The email said: 'Dear colleague, I'm Alan Partridge and tonight sees my return to the BBC for the first time in two decades.

'Yes, some 24 years after my last presenting gig, the BBC have sidled up to me with a short-term offer to co-present your much-loved magazine show This Time, standing in for John Baskell who's been taken ill. My response? Well, although my diary is as clogged as John's arteries (get well, John!) I have agreed to drop everything and step up.

'Now, some of you aren't going to like that. Some of you made clear when I left that I wouldn't be welcome back; a woman who worked in compliance called Karen or Kate or Kath who had long wavy hair and apparently still works here sneered so hard I thought her face would turn inside out.

'But back I am, as evidenced by this, my own official BBC email address <mailto:alan.partridge-bbc@bbc.co.uk>. And with it I reach out to you, my colleagues - not to gloat, or settle old scores, or say, 'Hey, Karen/Kate/Kath, why don't you kiss my ****' - but to be the bigger man and clear the air of any residual stench.

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'No, it's time for a clean slate and no hard feelings. Because I love the BBC and I always have. While others might say it's a smug anachronism full of braying, know-nothing chancers doling out fat commissions to their braying, know-nothing Oxbridge mates, I don't. I think the BBC is great and watch its programmes avidly, regardless of their quality.

'All I ask is that you return the favour. All of you. From on-screen talent right the way down to off-screen staff. I ask every one of this email's 20,000+ recipients to tune in tonight at 9.30pm on BBC One. Even if nobody else in the country does, we're already hitting the kind of numbers my shows were getting on Sky Atlantic. Spread the word to a few more and my viewing figures will show the upward trajectory management is bound to want a piece of.

'So once again, please, please please, please tune in. Please tune in.

'Your colleague (and I am your colleague), Alan Partridge.'

This Time With Alan Partridge will be a mock-live half-hour current events programme.

Susannah Fielding will feature as Alan's co-presenter and Tim Key will reprise his role as Simon 'Sidekick' Denton.