In Depth

Alan Partridge: how to watch new series This Time

BBC staff receive email from gaffe-prone broadcaster ahead of his return to the broadcaster

Alan Partridge returns to the BBC tonight in  This Time With Alan Partridge, a parody of BBC’s flagship entertainment programme The One Show.

The first episode of the six-part series, which airs at 9.30pm tonight, sees the inept broadcaster parachuted in after one of the two original presenters falls ill.

Coogan will be joined by co-stars Susannah Fielding as presenter Jennie Gersham, while Tim Key returns as Simon “formerly Sidekick Simon” Denton.

It has been more than 23 years since the gaffe-prone presenter fronted his own TV show - Knowing Me, Knowing You, which aired on BBC 2 from 1994 to 1995.

The final instalment of the parody chat show “took a truly calamitous turn in the closing moments when Alan accidentally shot one of his guests, a restaurant critic played by Patrick Marber”, says the i newspaper.

This morning, more than 20,000 BBC staff received an email purportedly from Partridge, in which he attempted to “clear the air of any residual stench” ahead of his return.

As for what we can expect from the latest incarnation of Partridge, Coogan said his fictional alter ego has adapted to a more politically correct era - but in his own inimitable fashion.

“What we do is we have him trying to jump on the bandwagon and say, you know, he says ‘Hey! I’ve made mistakes, I’ve stood on the side of the sidewalk and slow hand-clapped while I watch a woman try to parallel park, you know, and I feel bad about that. And now if I saw a woman doing it now, I would shout instructions.’”

The show will delve into “modern-day issues and affairs, including the Me Too movement, and show the fictional broadcaster ‘on message’”, the London Evening Standard reports.

Speaking about an episode centred on the Me Too movement, Coogan continued: “That’s such a difficult topic for anyone to talk about, for anyone to say anything about, but if you’re doing a character it weirdly gives you this licence to. You can get things wrong in a big way and it’s fine because it’s him doing it.”

It has been 17 years since the character last appeared on the BBC in sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, and anticipation for the new series is understandably high. However, Coogan has assured fans that they will not be disappointed.

Speaking on stand-up comedian Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, the comedian said: “I think it passes muster with what we’ve done before.”

This Time with Alan Partridge airs Mondays at 9.30pm on BBC One.

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