After paying his dues in the wilderness of digital radio for the last few years, Alan Partridge bounced back with an average audience of 216,000 viewers last night on Sky Atlantic.
The Norwich DJ’s return to TV, Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life, won a 1% share and enjoyed a five minute peak of 268,000 viewers between 9-10pm, an audience which dwarfs the 8000-strong viewership (wrongly cited by Alan as 11 times the population of Hemsby) achieved by his last digital TV series, Skirmish, a military-based quiz show which found minor daytime fame on UK Conquest.
Especially cheering for the Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a Video! presenter will be the news that his TV special is now Sky Atlantic’s biggest ever rated new commission, and was the fourth most-watched pay TV programme of yesterday, surpassed only by two episodes of The Simpsons and US supernatural drama Grimm on Watch.
As well as enjoying such healthy ratings for a programme broadcast on a subscription-only channel, Partridge also trended on Twitter for the duration of his show, at one stage occupying four of the top ten trend slots.
And there’s more! It was revealed today that Partridge’s production company has struck a deal with French distributors StudioCanal to release his hotly-anticipated motion picture, which will be out next August.
“I’m simultaneously gladdened and pleased to see a British film being co-funded by the French dudes at StudioCanal,” said the former Nofolk Nights host. “This is without doubt the greatest Anglo-French co-operation since the Normandy landings. This time, the heroes aren’t Allied servicemen – they’re motion picture financiers, who are equally brave.
“I’d also like to add that ‘canal’ – or, in English, ‘canal’ – is a transportation system close to my heart. In the late 18th century, this new method of logistics halved the price of coal in many English cities. If StudioCanal’s investment can achieve even a fraction of that, I will be delighted.”
Partridge’s close confidant Armando Iannucci also found success last night on Sky Atlantic, as his US political sitcom Veep debuted to an audience of 95,000 viewers and a 0.5% audience share.
All in all, it was a good night for Partridge and his associates. As the man himself might say: “Lovely stuff.”