When North Norfolk Digital is taken over by a media conglomerate, and Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) is fired, Pat lays siege to the station in protest. The only person he will allow to speak to the police on his behalf is long time colleague Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), but Alan may have had more to do with the personnel shake up at the station than Pat thinks.
There has been talk of a big screen outing for Alan Partridge for many years now, and the genius of moving Alan to the big screen is the setting; unlike many TV shows that are transplanted to film, the lead character is left in his comfort zone of Norwich, although it may not quite the glorious zone that Alan wants for himself.
Steve Coogan effortlessly slips back into his most famous role as the naive and often awkward Alan Partridge. It can be argued that Alan often thinks of himself as being in his own private movie, so when the opportunity for drama arises, Alan not only rises to the challenge of delivering unsolicited monologues, but also realises that this could be a good career move for him. Coogan plays Partridge as a selfish man who often regrets his decisions, but finds comedy in the mundane as Alan tries to placate a man with a gun, and make the situation work for him.
The rest of the cast are on fine form; Colm Meaney plays the wounded psychopath incredibly well, and a lot of comedy is to be found as his character swings between wounded and optimistic. Felicity Montagu is great as the put-upon Lynn, although it seems that her character has been taking advice from Alan, as she has become a modicum more selfish over the years. She is also a little more like Mrs Doyle than we remember…
Father Ted veteran Declan Lowney takes the reins as director, and he allows a small story to be made epic, as a small radio station is held hostage. Coogan and Co have written a great script, and there is some fantastic rapid-fire delivery throughout the film that works. The film does lag in the second half, however, as it seems that the script runs out of steam. As well as this, there is very little here for non-fans of TV’s biggest (fictional) loser, as the characters have been created elsewhere and are transplanted into the script with little introduction.
In all, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a film for fans of North Norfolk Digital’s most naive, selfish and funny export. As a fan, there was plenty to enjoy, laugh at and revel in, but those experiencing Alan for the first time may do well to start with I’m Alan Partridge first, and work their way up.