By the time Alan Partridge had his own radio series, the character had already had time to take shape and form through On The Hour. Partridge appeared on TV in both The Day Today and Knowing Me Knowing You, in 1994 - clearly a busy year for the focused team of comedy writers and performers who are still leading lights in the industry today.
It's been over 20 years since Coogan's awful invention came to life and re-watching it has been a real revelation. For a start, I'd thought I remembered a lot more of it, than I actually had. Although certain moments are familiar, partially because they were reworkings of the radio series which I've listened to a lot over the years, a lot of the characters and episodes within the shows had long-since passed from my memory. This alone would make it seem like something new to be watching.
The simple fact is this. It feels like a modern bit of TV. The only clues that this is not new writing and production come from the fact that it's not in widescreen, there's some comedy around how homophobic Partridge is, which are based more on sensibilities of the time and would be handled differently now, and the performers all appear to be far too young.
What a group of performers aswell. I'm not supposed to like Patrick Marber, but he plays a blinder. Brilliant. Coogan himself is the centre of everything and is so generally successful that he doesn't need my praise. Rebecca Front, however, is the pure comic character acting genius that cannot be praised enough.