Alan Partridge’s return to the BBC could come as soon as the end of the year, according to the Corporation.
Speaking at a showcase of the BBC’s new comedies, controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen told RadioTimes.com that the new series starring Steve Coogan has been shot and will air on BBC1 at the end of this year or early 2019.
“Either at the end of this year or the beginning of next,” was his assessment of the likely air date of the show which sees Steve Coogan’s broadcaster landing a new chat show at the BBC called This Time with Alan Partridge.
Allen said that the new six-part comedy was not likely to be part of the BBC’s Christmas line-up “because there are so many comedies at that time”.
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He added that the BBC is hoping to make its entire Alan Partridge output available on iPlayer leading up to transmission in order to introduce a potential new fan base to his previous work including Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge and I’m Alan Partridge.
“With Partridge, we would hope to box set the previous series so you can lead in and refresh people,” Allen said. “Hopefully its going to get that second-generation wind so people who grew up with [the shows] in the 80s and 90s will want to watch them with kids and friends.
“It’s a bit like with Friends, younger people discovering stuff over and over again,” he added.
However, Allen said that the box-setting plans had not yet been confirmed because the BBC needed to clear up rights issues on the old shows.
The new show within a show, penned by Coogan’s recent collaborators Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons who co-wrote his Sky show Mid Morning Matters, has been described by the BBC as a “heady mix” of consumer affairs, news, “highbrow interviews and lightweight froth”.
Tim Key reprises the role he played in the well-received film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – although this time, instead of being known as Sidekick Simon his character is billed as Simon Denton.
Partridge last fronted live television in the 1990s with chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You but it didn’t end so well for him, or for the BBC. The fictional show was axed when Partridge accidentally fatally shot a guest live on air.