Alpha Papa Unseen - an extra slice of Partridge
Alan Partridge writers Neil and Rob Gibbons tell us about a hilarious scene that might have been - and a whole new plotline for Alan's assistant Lynn
Since Alan Partridge's emergence from the wilderness via online radio show Mid Morning Matters, we’ve been treated to a real-life biography, two exquisite Sky Atlantic specials and now Alpha Papa, the Norwich-based broadcaster’s first big-screen outing.
Yet during that Partridgeless period between his last appearance on BBC2 in 2002 and the first M3 in 2010, fans wondered whether they’d ever hear from Alan again. Who can blame us, then, for snapping up every scrap of Partridge we can lay our hands on, like this exclusive insight from Alpha Papa writers Neil and Rob Gibbons into a scene that didn’t quite make it into the movie – but not because it wasn’t funny enough…
To set the scene, Radio North Norfolk Digital has been taken over by soulless corporation Gordale Media, who've changed the station's name to Shape and fired one of its long-serving DJs, Pat Farrell.
In response, Pat has snapped, got himself a shotgun and is holding a group of company employees – including Alan himself – hostage at the NND studios. Unaware that Alan was complicit in getting him fired, though, Pat is still keen to help his ‘friend’ out any way he can.
Writers Neil and Rob Gibbons describe how this hilarious-sounding scene would have played out...
Neil: “There was the idea of Alan being due to give a road safety talk to local kids on the day of the siege. When Pat realises he’s stopping Alan helping children, he gets upset and we cut to a classroom where Alan is delivering it to the kids over Skype, but looking a bit odd...
“A blob of Alan’s drool then falls towards the screen and you reveal he’s lying face over on a table, tied up, with the iPad on the floor – trying to hold it together while going red and issuing all this goz onto the screen. The scaffolding of logic wasn’t sturdy enough to retain it though.”
More like this
Rob: “It’s a shame, because we did a test of it using Steve’s iPad and it looked hilarious, in a sub-Leslie Grantham way...”
Meanwhile, an entire plotline that didn’t make it into the film sees Alan’s long-suffering assistant Lynn coming over all Jessica Fletcher – before Alan attempts to steal the glory by revealing the results of her investigations live on air…
Rob: “Lynn’s whole arc was different. Originally she discovered an email trail that showed the Gordale Media takeover had broken UK competition law and could feasibly be the subject of a judicial review. She gets into the whole Murder She Wrote lady-sleuth role but Alan doesn’t want to hear it because things are going well.
“He ultimately blows the whistle on Gordale, with the comic idea being Alan trying to grandstand on air like it’s Watergate while revealing information that’s impenetrably technical and dull. All undermined by being on a yellow fun bus.”
So there you have it – a little extra Alan in your lives, and you'll be richer for it, if not completely satisfied... Is there any more Partridge to look forward to?
"There’s a new series of Mid Morning Matters in the pipeline,” Rob tells me, “and murmurs of another book." Meanwhile, Alan himself, Steve Coogan, reveals he’s not ruling out an Alpha Papa sequel. The concept: a leisurely Norfolk-based road movie, rather than a siege situation, yet dramatic in its own way...
“Maybe something nightmarish would happen and it would be Alan fighting against the elements,” says Coogan. “It would just be a blustery evening, where he can’t put up his tent, but it would be really major.”
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is in cinemas now