Yes, when we last saw Alan Partridge – at the end of his first (non-documentary) BBC series for 17 years – the This Time presenter was being called into a meeting with the Director-General and his co-host Jennie Gresham, having inadvertently gone on record claiming that she would “smother her own grandmother with a pillow to get on the cover of the Radio Times”.
So is there a way back for Alan after what many fans are calling the best Partridge ever? What else might we expect from a second series? And what other projects does Alan have in the pipeline?
All your post-Partridge questions answered – or at least wildly speculated on – below…
Will there be a second series of This Time with Alan Partridge?
While there’s been no official word from the BBC on this as yet, the signs seem positive.
Aside from the fact that Partridge fans have loved Alan’s return to the Beeb, there seems to be an openness to more This Time from those both in front of and behind the camera.
Susannah Fielding, who plays Alan’s co-presenter Jennie, told RadioTimes.com “I think we’d all like to [do more], and obviously it’s been successful, and I think the BBC really like it, so fingers crossed for another series.
“I’d love to see where Jennie and Alan’s relationship goes from here…” (see below for further thoughts on that).
At the launch of This Time with Alan Partridge back in February, BBC comedy boss Shane Allen also sounded positive about the future of the show, and when we asked writers Neil and Rob Gibbons whether they were up for more Partridge, they told us “I think so, yeah”.
However, they also pointed out that spending too much time inside Alan’s head requires a period of “decompression”, so perhaps they won’t be heading back into the writing room immediately.
“When you do Partridge, it’s quite an intense working process,” said Neil. “The writing process never ends really because we write in the writing stage, in the shooting stage and in the editing stage, so you tend not to strategise that many steps ahead. It’s such an immersive experience that when you come out of it you just want to think about other things, so we don’t really have a life plan for Alan all mapped out, we just wait until the juices start flowing again and then see where we think Alan would go and what he’d be doing and wait for the ideas to bubble up organically.”
Will Alan and Jennie make up?
After their clash at the end of the series, it looked as if Alan’s relationship with his This Time co-host Jennie was on the rocks, but the Gibbons brothers say there’s hope for the pair yet.
“What we tried to do with their relationship over the course of the series was to not make it too much of a disintegration. It felt like [too much of] an obvious arc, where she tolerates him at first and then becomes just more and more worn down by him, so instead what you see is the different dynamics coming to the fore and then receding again. So at one point there’s kind of flirtation, where she thinks ‘maybe I can control him by being over-friendly with him’ and when that doesn’t work she tries another tack and another tack.
“So there’s eddies and flows in the relationship that mean that they can have a big bust-up like this and it can lead on to something else without feeling it’s completely gone to smithereens. What that would be though, I don’t quite know…”
Of course, if things don’t work out between Alan and Jennie – and, of course, if that meeting with the BBC DG ends with Alan still in a job – perhaps ‘Sidekick’ Simon Denton (Tim Key), who (somewhat) successfully co-hosted with Alan in Jennie’s absence, could make it a more permanent arrangement. Although, that begs the question what would become of the digi-wall…
What else could happen in a second series of This Time with Alan Partridge?
Susannah Fielding says there’s still “endless material” for a show like This Time to explore, if it did return.
“These magazine shows are on every day,” she said. “There’s always the brilliant juxtaposition of really relevant topical stuff and then complete inane random crap… and there’s endless amounts of that; there’s all sorts of topical things that we could do in a second series.”
She was also keen on the suggestion that Jennie could get out of the studio a bit more and help front some of the features that have so far been the preserve of her co-star.
“I did two or three big outside VTs as they call them, as well as loads of other footage [for the first series], it just didn’t make the cut,” she revealed. “So I think now that Jennie is a bit more known as a character, maybe the audience would like to see them both out doing those interviews together – that could be really fun to see them in different scenarios.”
Is there any other new Alan Partridge on its way?
Funny you should ask. The BBC is yet to confirm this, but the Gibbons brothers recently let slip that they are working on another Partridge project in which Alan ‘tries his hand at something else’.
“There are other formats on our list, one of which we’re – I don’t know if we can talk about it – but we’re about to shoot another Partridge series,” they told the Empire Film Podcast.
“We’re going to film it in May for the BBC, which is Alan trying his hand at something else.”
We can only hope that the time has finally come for A Partridge Amongst the Pigeons to take flight…
This Time with Alan Partridge is available to pre-order now, and will be in-store from 8th April