Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life - In The Press
With the hype building for August's Alan Partridge film, it's time to catch this magisterial comeback from Norfolk's infamous broadcaster, if you missed it last year. Steve Coogan's alter ego fronts an hour-long documentary about his home town which owes a debt to portentous history shows and chummy celeb travelogues. It's as funny as Partridge ever was, but pushes in new directions.
Jack Seale, The Radio Times, 30th March 2013
"If you don't do it, Sky will!" Alan Partridge once told BBC commissioning editor Tony Hayers. And now they did... although Inner City Sumo never made it to our screens, Alan bounced back to TV in triumphant style this year with the satellite broadcaster. Welcome to the Places of My Life, Alan's personal assessment of the Norwich area, was classic Partridge straight out of the top drawer - laced with classic anal attention-to-detail and "superb" direction from the Pear Tree Productions helmsman himself.
Tim Glanfield, Radio Times, 27th December 2012
Alan Partridge has been around for over 20 years, since he first began life as On the Hour's sports reporter. Watching his latest TV outing, he is still going as strongly (or rather tactlessly) as ever.
There was a glorious reprise for Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge. Older, yes; wiser, emphatically no. As he took us through the "places of my life" around Norfolk, yet again we marvelled at how his confident asides manage to combine the shiveringly banal with the roundly offensive. We started at North Norfolk Digital Radio. "Many are surprised at how small the offices are. But at 800 square metres that's larger than a good-quality dentist's, and could house a Tesco Express." Then Norwich town hall, opened in 1938 by King George VI, "the stammering monarch made famous by hit movie The King's Speech". And his favourite car dealership. "Whether you buy British, or have a short memory and are happy to buy Japanese..." and then the woods. "For some, Thetford Forest means dogging, or suicide. But I'm old-school, and I'm off for a walk." Not one sentence technically wholly untrue, but all supremely wrong, and the whole of it supremely right. It was a wistful, spot-on return for Alan and his leisureware, and at this rate he'll end up a kind of bathetic national treasure.
A good week for sharp writing included Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life wherein Steve Coogan's chat chump took us on a personal tour which included his radio station ("My coalface, my canvas, my lathe"), the fitness centre ("A diet of Tracker Bars means I'm able to lead the kind of physically active life that's simply out of reach for many men my age such as Eamonn Holmes") and his favourite beauty-spot ("For some Thetford Forest means dogging and suicide but I'm old-school and I'm off for a walk!").
Sky Atlantic's Monday-night triple play kicked off with the return of Alan Partridge to TV, with the hour-long travelogue Welcome to the Places of My Life. It's hard to quote from the show, as pretty much every line was a winner. Even the throwaways - "I'm halfway through my Norfolk odyssey, but if you've just joined us, it'll still make sense" - struck home.
If you could forgive the hypocrisy of Steve Coogan selling out to his supposed nemesis Rupert Murdoch then Sky Atlantic was the place to be on Monday.
Some of the best bits of Welcome to the Places of My Life are when we get a sense of the cameras rolling for about four seconds longer than they should have done, just like in Knowing Me, Knowing You, Partridge's first TV outing, but also to what Steve Coogan himself is mocking - the overblown ceremony and rubbish incompetence of low-budget telly.
Written by Harriet Walker. The Independent, 30th June 2012
Make no mistake about it, Welcome was the funniest thing Alan Partridge has been involved with since 2002's dicey second series of I'm Alan Partridge.
Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 27th June 2012
Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life becomes Sky Atlantic's biggest-rated new commission.
Written by Ben Dowell. The Guardian, 26th June 2012
A look at some of Steve Coogan's comic creations.
The Daily Telegraph, 26th June 2012
Alan Partridge: Welcone To The Places in My Life a supremely funny one-off special in which Steve Coogan confirms his renewed mastery of one British comedy's greatest creations.
"The more I learn about Hitler the more I dislike him," said Alan Partridge sagely in Welcome to the Places of My Life, his personal guide to "Albion's hindquarters", "the Wales of the East"- or Norfolk, as the rest of us know it.
Alan Partridge's return for Welcome To The Places Of My Life took us on a test drive back to Knowing Me, Knowing You's glory years.
Written by Keith Watson. Metro, 26th June 2012
Egotistical, bombastic, bigoted, insecure, lonely, needy. Partridge remains a brilliant, monstrous, pathetic creation who can still raise a smile in his audience. If Partridge was once merely a figure of fun, he is now a character of true bathos, and Steve Coogan must take the credit for that.
Written by Ben Lawrence. The Daily Telegraph, 26th June 2012
Alan's latest outing, Welcome to the Places of My Life, is even stronger than it's been in previous programmes.
Written by Jack Sharp. On the Box, 25th June 2012
By rights, Alan Partridge should have been dead as a character years ago, the last drops of humour long since wrung out of the local radio presenter from Norwich, but Steve Coogan keeps finding ways to make him feel fresh.
We talk to Neil and Rob Gibbons, the writers behind a triumphant TV comeback for Steve Coogan's alter ego.
Written by Jack Seale. The Radio Times, 25th June 2012
A guide to the "Wales of the East", Norfolk, by the man who put Norwich on the chat map. Alan Partridge takes us to his workplace, his favoured newsagents and along his regular Thetford Forest walking route. It is, as the man himself says: "A Partridge pilgrimage. A Partrimage. A Pilgrimartridge. A Partrimiligrimage." But he's also keen on Norwich's rich past, including Hitler's plan to give a victory address from the town hall balcony. Imagine that...
The comedian and actor reveals just how much of himself there is in his most famous comedy creation.
Written by Claire Webb. The Radio Times, 25th June 2012
Steve Coogan's enduring monster crashes in with a one-off special that starts with him huffing and puffing around the countryside of north Norfolk ('the Wales of the East') to the strains of a tin whistle. He's on a Partridge Pilgrimage to wax lyrical about his stomping ground and, much like everything else Coogan's done with the character, this spoof vanity project is hilarious and hideous in equal measure. Though grammar pedants will secretly sympathise with his radio campaign promoting the correct use of the words 'obligate' and 'repulse'.
The graceless chancer has morphed into a Daily Mail-addled misanthrope. But rarely has a comedy trajectory been so beautifully sustained - Partridge has reached the stage where a mere glimpse of his face, his strangely acrylic-looking hair, his 'man at C&A' wardrobe, is enough to render us helpless with laughter. But to the writers' eternal credit, they don't rest on their laurels. This venture doubles as a perfectly pitched parody of every self-indulgent heritage Britain doc you've ever seen. Partridge bestrides his beloved Norfolk, musing on market traders ('people living on the very fringes of society'), the possibility of Hitler addressing occupied Norwich from the balcony of City Hall and the plague ('very much the HIV of its day. But airborne... Flying Aids.') Alan, we salute you.
Phil Harrison, Time Out, 25th June 2012
In this exclusive clip from Alan Partridge's new Sky Atlantic show Welcome to the Places of My Life, he shows us round Norwich market. Where once there were 'bearskins and quivers', now there are 'monkey hats and tat'.
The Guardian, 25th June 2012
Alan bounces back with an hour-long special, the first of two for Sky Atlantic. In a note-perfect parody of the sort of lightweight travelogue prersented by Griff Rhys Jones, complete with cheapo graphics and amateurish editing, Welcome To The Places Of My Life sees Partridge providing a social history of the Norwich that made him. The concept drags a touch over the extended running time but there are many wonderful moments, especially the revelation that Partridge likes to imagine the sheep in a nearby field as people who have wronged him: "Andrew Marr, the Dimbleby brothers, loads of builders."
Subtitled 'Welcome To The Places Of My Life', this is Steve Coogan's broadcaster buffoon on a new channel for a guided tour of his native Norfolk - the "Wales of the East", as he would have it. The last series of Partridge on the BBC fell short of the usual brilliance but the recent autobiography and those beer-sponsored online shows seem to have revitalised him.