Introduction – Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes
AHA! In this article, we rank the best 12 episodes of I’m Alan Partridge. Steve Coogan has played a large number of characters on both the big screen and small screen throughout his career, as well as simply being himself. But to many people, he will always be known as the man behind the ghastly yet hilarious flawed TV and radio personality, Alan Partridge.
Norwich’s finest (okay, maybe not) has popped up every few years with several TV shows, one-off specials, books, and even a movie. But the best work comes in I’m Alan Partridge. Two series were produced five years apart, with Alan as his offensive, unsuccessful but still somehow charming self.
History – Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes
Unlike other major shows, I’m Alan Partridge doesn’t rely much on telling a story. It wasn’t unusual for some episodes to start with one narrative before turning into another that was totally unrelated, and with no real resolution provided either. But while the structure of the show could be a bit dodgy on occasion, it only meant that the spotlight was shone even brighter on Alan. And he could deliver classic lines out of nowhere, thus creating priceless memories.
In this regular feature, we take a look at the top editions of a particular TV programme. And so today, we’re picking the best 12 episodes of I’m Alan Partridge. So, which episodes top our list? Let’s find out!
Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes – Top Twelve
12. I Know What Alan Did Last Summer
This episode may be at the bottom of the pile, but it still has its moments. In particular, Alan’s cringeworthy conversation with the visiting Inland Revenue people is priceless. Otherwise, though, this is the one that has the least impact upon me when watching it back, and the side-scene of Alan taking his new girlfriend Sonja to visit “Bono” is amusing but totally pointless. It’s fun to see if you’ve never sampled Partridge, but there are far better examples.
11. The Talented Mr. Alan
The first episode of series two (from 2002) presses the reset button; Alan is now Bouncing Back, as his incredibly unsuccessful autobiography emphasises, and he is now living in a caravan as he awaits the completion of his new house. Along the way, though, he can’t help but cause himself unnecessary problems, as evidenced here when he returns to his old school to deliver a talk to the sixth formers. The best part of this edition is Alan’s straight-to-VHS video of random car accidents, filmed during the phase in his life where he had gained weight, lost all hope & drove to Dundee in bare feet while stuffing his face with Toblerones (which we see clips of later in the series).
Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes – Top Ten
10. Alan Attraction
This follows on from the very first edition (which I’ll cover shortly), as it represents the fall-out of Alan not getting a second series of his awful talk show Knowing Me, Knowing Alan Partridge. Here, Alan has to tell his staff that they’ll lose their jobs, but does so in a way that offends them even more. That includes his sudden new flame Jill, with whom he enjoys a night of, erm, passion before sacking her live on the radio. As Jill ponders what has happened, an unmoved Partridge states “coming up next, we’ll speak to Norfolk’s youngest butcher!”
9. Brave Alan
It’s hard to imagine someone as unbearable as Alan Partridge making genuine friends. But throughout the dozen episodes of IAP, he actually makes a few friends. One of those occurs here as he meets a man who is even sleazier than he is, that being Dan. Yes, this leads to that scene of Alan repeatedly shouting “DAN!”. The look on Dan’s face, as Alan watches an, erm, home video of Dan and his wife having sex, is one of the funnier visuals of the entire second series.
8. To Kill A Mocking Alan
Just as hard as the idea of Alan having friends is Partridge – a no-mark in the grand scheme of things – having fans. In this episode, Alan meets Jed, who initially wants an autograph before attending his presentation An Afternoon With Alan Partridge, but who eventually reveals to Partridge that he has an entire shrine dedicated to him at his house. Also notable here is Alan demonstrating how not to act during a meeting as he offends Irish network executives with his awful comments about Irish history.
7. The Colour Of Alan
You may have noticed that I have ranked many episodes from the second series quite low on the list. That’s because the first series has a stronger storyline and a better cast of supporting characters to play off. But there are still some definite gems. One comes here, where Alan’s attempts to prank the owners of his favourite country club lead to a ban. He then cuts his foot on a spike when trying to climb back in alongside his long-suffering PA, Lynn (Felicity Jane Montagu). This leads to Alan presenting at an awards ceremony, which literally could not go any more wrong.
6. Alan Wide Shut
The final episode sees Alan get himself into yet more hot water. This is courtesy of a painful argument with a guest on a religious radio show. Alan also ruins Lynn’s baptism celebration with a speech that turns into absolute drivel (“Tis, was, Tiswas, who remembers Tiswas?”). And he also confronts a guest (Rob Brydon) who dares to criticise his Bouncing Back book. Still, he must accept the same tome being “pulped” due to terrible sales.
Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes – Top Five
5. Towering Alan
Where could Alan Partridge be at his most awkward, offensive, and ignorant? That would be the setting of a funeral. Alan attends to mourn the loss of BBC TV head honcho Tony Hayers. This, the man whose death Alan is “secretly delighted” about according to his first book).
Alan’s conduct here is appalling, yet totally side-splitting. Relive his attempts at ‘helping’ Tony’s widow with such lines as “Were yous close?” Somehow, Alan finds out that he will now get a second series of his talk show after all. His reaction: “Jurassic Park!” The rest of the edition is great, but this scene is TV gold.
4. Never Say Alan Again
The best offering from 2002 covers Alan’s desire to watch every single James Bond movie, one after the other. Along the way, Partridge comes out with a brutal line to his faithful PA. He says, “you’re looking very cheerful considering it’s the first anniversary of your mother’s death!”
Ultimately, as is often the case, Alan’s big scheme doesn’t go to plan. A bonkers disruption to Alan’s Bond timetable leads him to act out the epilogue of The Spy Who Loved Me. How the cast didn’t burst out laughing when this was filmed, I do not know.
Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes – Top Three
3. A Room With An Alan
Losing his talk show, moving into The Linton Travel Tavern and now handling a graveyard shift radio slot. Clearly, Alan has hit hard times. But he remains upbeat at the prospect of a meeting with Tony Hayers (David Schneider). There, he hopes to be given that second series of KMKIP.
The result? A classic scene where a desperate Alan tries to pitch a bunch of truly rotten TV programme ideas. Cue the likes of “Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank” and “Monkey Tennis” not exactly making it to BBC1. With all hope lost, Alan attacks David with cheese and leaves, his future in tatters.
2. Basic Alan
I love this episode, even though there is no story to it at all. It’s just a look at 24 hours in the life of Alan Partridge when he has nothing to do. This includes him taking a stroll across a motorway en route to the local BP garage.
When he chats with Michael, he learns of the friendly Geordie barman tossing an actual monkey into the sea. Still, he convinces Michael to join him in stealing a traffic cone off the ring road. But Michael runs away to let Alan take the rap from the local police force.
Top Ranking – Best I’m Alan Partridge Episodes
1. Watership Alan
And so we come to the best episode of all. If there’s one thing that Alan knows how to do well, it’s to upset people. He does that big-time here when random comments on his radio show upset the local farmers. And Partridge’s chance to say sorry to farmers makes things far worse.
Meanwhile, Alan lands a job in hosting an advert for a boating holiday company. But the farmers get revenge on Partridge with the use of a giant cow. It’s unpredictable, it’s daft, and it’s vintage Alan Partridge. This proves why Alan Partridge remains one of the most memorable British comedy characters ever.
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