The Leopoldstadt director, who also helped develop Alan Partridge, speaks to Sarah Crompton about antisemitism, the quasi-racism of Boris Johnson, and reopening the acclaimed Tom Stoppard play after the pandemic forced its early closureSarah Crompton, The Independent, 22nd August 2021
BBC Radio 4's The Reunion brought together most of the main cast of 1994's TV news satire The Day Today, though not the ever elusive Chris Morris. Steve Coogan was down the line from the Lake District (presumably on a windy fell outside a restaurant from The Trip, while Rob Brydon ate pudding). Patrick Marber joined via Zoom too, while Armando Iannucci, Doon Mackichan and David Schneider were in the studio with Kirsty Wark. The recollections were riotous and giggly, but also instructive about how the news has changed. They didn't think Morris's interviewee-baiting, surreal vox pops would have worked now ("The power's now with whoever's stopped at the market," Schneider suggested). I also loved Wark teasing Coogan about ingesting helium to play a thinly veiled parody of Gerry Adams, whose voice was disguised on TV at the time. "You've never done dangerous substances before?" "Well, I have," Coogan replied, "but not ones that are funny."Jude Rogers, The Observer, 21st August 2021
Alan Partridge is Middle England incarnate. From hapless sports presenter, to hapless TV presenter, to hapless podcaster, Norwich's favourite son is as maddening as he is endearing. He's also managed to do what very few characters in the comedy world successfully manage to do: endure.Daniel Dylan Wray, Vice.com, 9th October 2020
Bunk Bed is a show that seems strange when you explain it. Now in its fifth series, the show is simply a recording of grown men Patrick Marber and Peter Curran lying in the dark in a bunk bed, talking about life, the universe and "the velocity you're expected to travel at, just to keep up". Though the result sounds like stream of consciousness, there is much sharp editing going on, and this is a funny show. Last week, Curran worried that he was never bored, while Marber confessed to being bored most of the time and, also, to being boring to young people: "As soon as you utter the two words "I" and "remember" conjoined, young people, understandably, just think, 'shut up'."
Last week, Curran, who often plays clips to trigger conversation, opened by playing one that referenced James Bond. Marber said he thought James Bond was a bit pathetic. "Is this you being a middle-aged man trying to claw back some sensitivity?" wondered Curran. And later: "Are you still a nasty piece of work?" Marber's contributions included: "Were you a bit Spandau?" and "All I can see is Old Ma Curran in a pair of grey shorts." They do make me laugh. "I think we're entering the pompous stage of our lives," remarked Marber. "Pontification occurs in your 60s, we're pre-pontification."
Actually, they're both quite modest, and it's nice to hear middle-aged blokes talking humorously about their mundanities, as opposed to bigging up their supposedly impressive achievements. Ahhhh. Taking a bath in the weird is always refreshing.Miranda Sawyer, The Guardian, 22nd July 2018
There were many frissons of delight in this documentary looking back at Partridge's legacy, not least the realisation that the humour has aged not one bit. It is the humour of desperation, awkwardness and of a sublime lack of self-knowledge: and Coogan does it even better than Cleese, and has done ever since (as we find out here, with so many sharp talking heads) he paused an early radio recording to nip off to Lilywhites and re-emerged in the studio emblazoned with Pringle's finest sports-casual. In that moment Partridge was born.
I suspect we need him now even more than then, as a Greek chorus to our desperately febrile times, and a reminder that we will not - do not deserve to - survive without the ability to laugh at and with ourselves.Euan Ferguson, The Guardian, 2nd January 2018