Filming on the Alan Partridge movie, which is set for release this summer, only began on 24 January but it's already causing utter chaos in Norfolk: the mayor of Sheringham, a small coastal town west of Cromer, has announced that roads will be closed there on 27 February for the shooting of a car chase.
"The secretary of the chamber of trade and I have been talking to a film production company, which will be coming to Sheringham to film a short sequence of an international movie starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge," Sheringham town mayor Doug Smith told the Norwich Evening News. "The film crew will spend two days on Cromer Pier before spending one afternoon in Sheringham. They will be with us on Wednesday, February 27, which means Station Approach, Station Road and Church Street will be closed to traffic between 12 and 5pm."
A 2011 campaign to partially pedestrianise Sheringham town centre failed, despite access to Dixons not being a concern: the nearest branch of what is now Currys is indeed Alan's favoured one in nearby Norwich.
The scene to be shot in Sheringham, which involves Alan being chased down a busy high street by a number of emergency vehicles, will feature 50 local extras who, Smith said, "will earn good money over three days. They’re all elderly men and women from Sheringham."
Also appearing in the £4.5m film – which sources tell RadioTimes.com will certainly not ultimately be titled Alan Partridge: the Movie – are Sean Pertwee, Anna Maxwell Martin, Monica Dolan (Appropriate Adult), Dustin Demri-Burns (Cardinal Burns) and Colm Meaney (Star Trek: the Next Generation), as well as several performers who have appeared in Partridge TV productions: Felicity Montagu, Darren Boyd, Tim Key, Phil Cornwell, Simon Greenall and Nigel Lindsay.
Lindsay, who played imposing survival expert Tommy Gaskell in Alan Partridge's Mid Morning Matters, tweeted a line from the film last week, in which Alan tells his long-suffering PA: "She's a drunk racist, Lynn. I'll tolerate one, but not both."
Last year it was revealed that the film sees Alan's current home, digital station North Norfolk Digital, taken over by a faceless media corporation called Shape.
"North Norfolk Digital is bought by one of those big media companies that try to homogenise the output so you get very vanilla, corporate radio," co-writer Neil Gibbons told RadioTimes.com in June. "For all Alan's faults, and much as he'd probably like to be, he's not very corporate. But that's just the starting point… Alan is put in a position where he has to make a decision between his petty, selfish considerations and something more heroic."
Of the chase through Sheringham, which is part of a longer pursuit of Alan from Norwich to Cromer, producer Kevin Loader told the Norwich Evening News: "It is quite an intricate sequence."
Loader added: "There is a very strong association between Partridge and Norwich, and Norfolk. When we were discussing the film a couple of years ago, people said: surely you will send Alan to Nashville or Dubai, but it was Steve Coogan’s very strong intention that the movie was shot in Norfolk and Norwich. We want to keep it in the heartland of the character. We are keen to keep the connection going."
"We are having a lot of fun," Loader said. "It is hard work, but we are very pleased with how funny it is. There are a lot of laughs on set."