Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan has said Brexit is responsible for the hapless presenter’s return to the BBC.
Partridge returns to BBC One this month as the host of daily magazine show This Time – a thinly-veiled pastiche of the Beeb’s own One Show.
His unlikely return – he parted company with Auntie after accidentally discharging a duelling pistol into restaurant critic Forbes McCallister’s chest live on TV 25 years ago – comes as he is parachuted in after long-standing host John Baskell is taken ill.
But in the real world Coogan has revealed that Brexit is at least partly responsible for Partridge’s return to primetime.
He told the website Den of Geek: ‘We had to justify a reason why Alan would come back.
‘We had a gift with Brexit, we thought there might be a missive at the BBC saying that a certain area of the viewing audience has been disenfranchised and ignored, the non-elite.
‘Alan represents that so you can imagine them thinking ‘we might as well give this guy another bite at the cherry because he seems to be in touch with that world view’.’
He said that Partridge had moved on from the ‘uber-conservative Little Englander’ he was portrayed as in previous series.
‘Now he’s more nuanced,’ Coogan said. ‘It’s funnier to go for people who are attempting to adopt what is known as ‘correct thinking’ and not quite getting it right.’
‘Alan would have voted Brexit for sure. Hard Brexit, given the choice,’ he said. ‘He’s a Brexiteer because the Daily Mail told him to be.’
Asked if he would make a better leader than the current president of the United States, he said: ‘He would make a better president than Trump, yes. Alan’s inept but he’s also honest and well-intentioned. It’s a Little England thoughtlessness.
‘He tries not to be sexist, then is sexist. He’s the kind of person, a bit like my dad, who tries to impress but it comes out wrong.
‘A black person came to our house who was a missionary, and within a few seconds my dad was like ‘Do you encounter much racism?’
‘But the thing with Partridge, is that you can have fun with characters that you don’t like to burst the bubble as well, in a sort of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ kind of way.
‘Like I did once on Alan’s radio show Mid Morning Matters, which is based on Richard Littlejohn, Rod Liddle, and Ian Hislop, all combined into one character. They all get on my fucking nerves, so I thought, I’ll combine them all into a kind of very cynical, droll character, who during Alan’s interview, is sort of putting Alan down a lot.
‘But when you watch it, the character is far more annoying than Alan is. Because, as well as being a bit of an idiot himself, you can actually use him to speak truths.
‘To say things that are sort of a bit ignorant, but actually, people secretly agree with him.’
This Time With Alan Partridge starts on BBC One on Monday, February 25 at 9.30pm