“Last week on this time I shared the uncorroborated story of a baby who was thrown from a burning building and caught by a dog.
I said I’d find out more. I haven’t done that. But the balls of that dog have captured the public imagination.”
Ladies and gentleman, Alan Partridge is back. And he’s better than ever.
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Unpredictable humour at its best
By the time audiences found themselves on episode 4 of This Time with Alan Partridge, they could have been excused for expecting the format to feel a little same-same and tiresome.
While impeccable in its delivery of imitating the BBC’s One Show, the series is a repetitive and predictable mix of topical news segments, off-screen footage and awkward sofa chats.
Fortunately, what is anything but predictable is Alan Partridge.
Steve Coogan injects such varying levels of humour from crass to clever, it’s hard not to consider the 53-year-old anything less than a comical genius.
Each of Alan’s lines and linguistic twangs reflects his toe-curlingly awkward persona to perfection, yet no two words or jokes are the same.
Where the f*ck is my water
Rages Alan, as a news segment abruptly comes to a close and he momentarily switches off air.
Combined with “I need a glass of water after exercise or else white saliva forms at the side of my mouth” and the humour not only takes audiences off guard but ties in Alan’s “I need a glass of water” escapade from episode 1.
Guests at their best
The border between unique success and catastrophic failure on guest-based shows and public-interaction formats such as the BBC’s One Show is highlighted by the disastrous interview segments on This Tine with Alan Partridge.
Episode 3 saw Alan come face to face with the Scottish accent where he struggled to make sense of anything that came from his interviewee’s mouth before murmuring his way to success with a tongue-in-cheek swipe at the Scottish language.
Episode 4 was much more simple.
A 100-year-old woman waffling away until she became tangled in her own laborious story while casually dropping the term “negro”, much to the flinch of Alan and everyone at home.
“Different times, different times. Apologies for the wind, and the racism.” Ends Alan.
Through the Back Door
Alan’s Through the Back Door investigation peaked and its hilarious name, with the so-called sting operation against a fellow BBC presenter somewhat lacking in comical punch compared to previous episodes’ sketches, such as the hand hygiene infomercial.
Nevertheless, it was a clever look at the BBC’s advertising policy, littered with crafty one-liners such as “now we all love adverts, but the BBC doesn’t have any” combined with bashful jokes such as Alan asking for more turf with his Surf ‘n’ Turf meal.
Can I just get Turf ‘n’ Turf.
Another One Bites the Dust
The big finale from episode 4 saw Alan showing off his respiratory skills with a CPR example on a fresh-faced human manakin called Eileen – thus the shout “come on Eileen”.
To watch Alan pounding away on a manakin’s chest while using the term “dock” as he places his lips over the mouth is as confusing as it is hilarious.
This scene is a must-watch…
This Time with Alan Partridge – Episode 4 review
Each episode of This Time is a good as the last, with no sign of the series withering away ahead of the final two episodes.
Whether it’s Alan forcing his sidekick Simon Denton into asking out a studio assistant for a date on live TV or accidentally giving away his credit cards details, there seems to be plenty more laugh out loud humour to be squeezed from Steve Coogan’s brain.
WATCH THIS TIME WITH ALAN PARTRIDGE EVERY MONDAY NIGHT ON THE BBC