Alan Partridge takes swipe at Piers Morgan during Bafta speech
30 years ago (August 9, 1991, to be precise), Alan Partridge was unleashed onto the world and few would have predicted that the character would still be enduring and provoking fits of laughter three decades later.
Steve Coogan was just 26 when he first played the role on episode one of the satirical news show On the Hour on BBC Radio 4. It was perhaps humble beginnings for a not-so-humble character but it wouldn’t take long before Partridge was a household in the UK.
Through various TV shows, a movie, a book and even podcasts, Partridge’s cringe sensibilities and dated outlook on British life has endeared him to millions of fans and helped inspire other beloved British comedy shows such as The Inbetweeners and Peep Show. It's perfectly plausible to suggest that Partridge is now so well known that his parody of awkward middle-aged men on television has now been superseded by the likes of Richard Madeley.
Coogan admitted during an interview with Jonathan Ross in May that he was “trying to be a middle-aged man and now I am one, so it’s much easier.” Comedy writer Armando Iannucci, who had a hand in creating the character, told the Radio Times in March: “It was almost like he was fully formed – the moment he started speaking, we laughed because we all thought ‘we kind of know this guy, we know his aspirations.”
In 2021, Partridge now almost exists as his own entity, separate from Coogan, and has provided the general public with more quotes (most of which are part of the everyday lexicon now) and memorable moments than we can even remember. So, on his 30th birthday (lord knows how old Partridge is actually supposed to be), here are 30 of the best quotes and moments from North Norfolk’s favourite export.
1. “Hi Susan. I was a bit bored so I dismantled my Corby Trouser Press. I can’t put it back together again. Will that show up on my bill?”
During his days living in Linton Travel Tavern in the first season of I’m Alan Partridge, our hero would often get quite bored.
2. “This chemical toilet is a Saniflow 33, now this little babe can cope with anything, and I mean anything. Earlier on, I put in a pound of mashed up Dundee cake, let’s take a look… not a trace! Peace of mind I’m sure, especially if you have elderly relatives on board.”
Partridge has a unique way of testing out the durability of toilets while doing an advert for a boating company.
3. “The temperature inside this apple turnover is over 1,000 degrees. If I squeeze it, a jet of molten Bramley apple will squirt out. Could go your way; could go mine. Either way, one of us is going down.”
Partridge attempts to settle a tense dispute at a power station.
4. “Go to London, and I guarantee you’ll either be mugged or not appreciated. Catch the train to London, stopping at Rejection, Disappointment, Backstabbing Central, and Shattered Dreams Parkway.”
We’re not sure this station actually exists but we can definitely say that Partridge hates the UK capital.
5. “Calm down, Lynn! You are suffering from minor women’s whiplash”
Partridge offering a medical diagnosis to his beleaguered assistant Lynn.
6. “Tough one! I think I’d have to say… ‘The Best Of The Beatles’.”
Partridge, despite being a radio DJ, doesn’t have the extensive musical knowledge you would hope from somebody in that profession. This comment was his response to being asked what his favourite Beatles album is. He also believes that Wings was the superior Paul McCartney band.
7. “Sunday Bloody Sunday.’ What a great song. It encapsulates the frustration of a Sunday, doesn’t it? You wake up in the morning, you’ve got to read all the Sunday papers, the kids are running around, you’ve got to mow the lawn, wash the car, and you think ‘Sunday, bloody Sunday!’”
Partridge has a rather insensitive misunderstanding of a famous U2 song that isn’t about the misery of a Sunday but a massacre that occurred in Belfast in 1972.
8. “Jet from Gladiators to host a millennium barn dance at Yeovil aerodrome. Properly policed. It must not, I repeat not, turn into an all-night rave.”
Partridge has a unique idea for a TV show that Jet herself was reportedly up for. Other great ideas Partridge had for television including ‘Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank,’ ‘Inner-city Sumo’ and ‘Monkey Tennis.’
9. “I’d just like to fly a helicopter all around Norfolk. You know, swoop down over a field. Scare a donkey so that it falls into a river. Hover over one of those annoying families that go on holidays on bikes. And shout at them “get out of the area!” and watch them panic!”
Partridge reveals his deep desires should he be fortunate enough to ever fly a helicopter.
10. “That was liquid football!”
A quote from a classic Partridge segment during his stint as a sports reporter for The Day Today.
11. “I wanted to watch Roger Moore necking with Fiona Fullerton. And instead, I have to watch a giant Michael Bolton lookalike, in a tight vest, throwing an oven over bales of hay.”
Partridge was left unimpressed after learning his James Bond videotapes have been recorded over with episodes of The World’s Strongest Man competition.
12. “Smell my cheese, you mother!”
Partridge literally shoves a whole wedge of cheese in the face of the fictional BBC commissioning editor Tony Hayers after he rejects his ideas for a new TV show.
13. “In 1974 I was catching the London train from Crewe station. It was very crowded; I found myself in a last-minute rush for the one remaining seat beside a tall, good-looking man with collar-length hair, it was the seventies; Buckaroo! I looked up and saw it was none other than Peter Purves, it was the height of his Blue Peter career. He said, ‘You jammy bastard’ and quick as a flash, I replied, ‘Don’t be blue, Peter!”
Reliving an anecdote about an eventful train journey.
14. “I would've taken it off sooner, but I was having a fascinating conversation with the proud father of Norfolk's most sun-tanned child... just passed his details on to the social services...”
Partridge showing his consideration for the children during his 2013 movie Alpha Papa.
15. “Let me tell you something about the Titanic: people forget that on the Titanic’s maiden voyage there were over 1000 miles of uneventful, very pleasurable cruising before it hit the iceberg.”
Partridge gives an optimistic assumption of what life was like on the Titanic before disaster struck.
16. “Imagine two things you enjoy. Great individually but put them together and you get something quite special. Strawberries and cream. Egg and bacon. Yawning and scratching. Johnson and Johnson. Charles and Camilla. But what about drugs and sex? This is Chemex.”
Our awkward radio host gives a unique introduction to the world of drug-based sex fetishes.
17. “In fact, I’ve made a few notes. Yes, bacon – ten on ten, button mushrooms – bingo, black pudding – snap, erm, minor criticism, more distance between the eggs and the beans. I may want to mix them, but I want that to be my decision. Use a sausage as a breakwater. But I’m nit-picking, on the whole a very good effort, seven on ten.”
Partridge tries to give tips to his Ukrainian girlfriend Sonja on how to make a full English breakfast.
18. “An egg still in its shell, looks fine but… It‘s from the nineties.”
Partridge warns viewers about living a ‘freegan’ lifestyle.
19. “Dan’s a fantastic man! He really is. I was talking to him earlier and he asked me what kind of phone I had and I said ‘a Motorola Timeport’. And he said, ‘that’s saaad, you want to upgrade’. I said, ‘so do you – to a new face’. He nearly soiled himself.”
Great banter between Partridge and his friend Dan.
20. “Lynn, I’ve pierced my foot on a spike!”
Easily the most gruesome moment in Partridge history.
21. “The pace of the Megane is too leisurely to be called quick. Uphill runs become power sappingly mundane whilst overtaking National Express coaches becomes a long, drawn-out affair. Not my words, Carol, those are the words of Top Gear Magazine.”
Partridge gets his words of wisdom from only the finest sources.
22. “That was ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ by Joni Mitchell, a song in which Joni complains they ‘paved paradise to put up a parking lot’, a measure which actually would have alleviated traffic congestion on the outskirts of paradise, something which Joni singularly fails to point out, perhaps because it doesn’t quite fit in with her blinkered view of the world. Nevertheless, nice song.”
An interesting take on an otherwise iconic song.
23. “There’s never any graffiti in the hotel. Although in the gents’ a couple of weeks ago, I did see someone had drawn a lady’s part. Quite detailed. The guy obviously had talent.”
Art criticism clearly wasn’t Partridge’s calling.
24. “I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat an entire Toblerone. And I don’t mean a small one. I mean a medium-sized one. In fact, in the best chapter in my book, I talk about when I gorged on Toblerone and drove to Dundee in my bare feet.”
Partridge’s addiction to chocolate takes a worrying turn.
25. “You know what this room says to me? Aqua. Which is French for water. It’s like being inside an enormous Fox’s Glacier Mint, which again, to me, is a bonus.”
His thoughts on his new bathroom are fresh to say the least.
26. “I’ve gotta say, Pat, kids don’t make you happy. Some of the unhappiest times of my life have been with my kids. I remember... a holiday on the beach in Prestatyn. The kids came over to me and said, “Papa, Papa! Follow me,” and... you know... I followed them about 200 yards across the sand dunes. When I got there, finally, all they’d done was dug a big hole. Miserable.”
Partridge doesn’t appear to have many fond memories of his offspring.
27. ”I’m 47; my girlfriend’s 33. she’s 14 years younger than me. Back of the net!”
Evidently, Partridge is delighted with the age gap between him and his girlfriend Sonja.
28. “Imagine ITV is a housing estate. There are 15 dealers punching a bit of this, a bit of that. Then one day two big guys roll up. Blacked out Range Rover, bit of muscle. That’s Carlton and Granada. They look around and say: ‘We team up this could be our manor. We could sort these tarts right out.’ So they flash the cash, bang a few heads together. Couple of years later it is floated as ITV PLC. All wrapped up with a pretty little bow. You couldn’t make it up.”
Partridge’s description of the formation of ITV to a group of young offenders sounds like a season of The Wire.
29. “Bouncing Back: a book that's been described as "lovely stuff". Not my words, Michael, the words of Shakin' Stevens.”
Only big names were giving quotes for Partridge’s autobiography.
30. “Jill, what do you think of the pedestrianization of Norwich city centre? I’ll be honest, I’m dead against it. I mean, people forget that traders need access to *DIXONS*! They do say it’ll help people in *wheeeelchairs*.”
Partridge’s sexy talk leaves a lot to the imagination.
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