24 May 2005 | made_o_stone
Ten on ten
Along with series 6 of Only Fools and Horses, I'm Alan Partridge series 1 is the greatest set of episodes of any comedy I have seen. The sheer quality of the acting and writing makes you weep at those who think My Family is good TV.
The first I saw of I'm Alan Partridge was the final episode of the original run. I can still remember being in tears of laughter from start to finish; seeing 'Castrol GTX' revealed on Alan's jacket at Tony Hayer's funeral nearly killed me. Then I saw the first run of repeats and was completely hooked.
The genius of Alan Partridge lies in how many different layers of his persona are evident - his fixation with transsexuals, his obsession with war and death, his desperation to be liked, his hatred of criminality and his xenophobia to name a few. Then there's the little things - the way he has to explain his jokes, his bad breath, the daydreaming, his bad skin and receding hairline, his love of driving. The genius of many of Alan's traits lies in the fact that they were established gradually ever since his first appearance on The Day Today. We discover on Knowing Me, Knowing You that he has bad breath, he has his first run-in with a transsexual and he refuses to pull onto the hard shoulder for sex.
Steve Coogan's performance as Alan is simply sublime. For example, when he is presenting the boat video and tries to ingratiate himself with 'the lads' by ogling a passing woman. Notice the look on his face just after he says "oooooooooooohhhh sex" when he starts drinking his pint, the little expressions like that are genius.
Many of the strongest scenes take place in the radio studio - the Joni Mitchell rant; "Mmm, a nice big thick slice of Thin Lizzy"; the war with Dave Clifton; "So give me a call, PLEASE!! Seriously, though, do give me a call." These were certainly the better parts of the second series, which I thought was generally embarrassing and took the character in completely the wrong direction.
I hope I haven't bored anyone, but it's hard not to look so closely at such an incredible series. Here are my favourite quotes: "Never throw water on a fat fire. It'll take your face off." "You know the breakfast buffet, all you can eat but from an 8-inch plate? 12 inches. Keep it in my room." "That is the best Valentine's Day I've had in 8 years." "What did you do 8 years ago?" "Just had a better one. Went to Silverstone, shook Jackie Stewart's hand - superb. My marriage fell apart soon after that." "What was he doing on the bloody roof?!" "He was getting the aerial down..." "Yeah, I was being rhetorical." "He had a second class honours degree in Media Studies from Loughborough University. What a waste." "I'd love to feel an airbag go off in my face. It'd be 'Huh, boosh, boosh'...cushion effect on the face." "Looking at the big girdles section? Amazing to think that some of these women are technically models." "Jet from Gladiators to host a Millennium barn dance at Yeovil Aerodrome. Properly policed, it must not, repeat not turn into an all-night rave."
Ten on ten, Lynn