Steve Coogan: “Richard Madeley is not the only presenter like Alan Partridge”

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

There are Alan Partridge’s in full force everywhere, claims Steve Coogan

The creative force behind the beloved British comedy character Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan suggests that Alan’s awkward comments could draw from various British TV presenters, not just Richard Madeley.

Alan Partridge has, over the years, become a staple in British popular culture. Starting with a stumble on BBC Radio 4’s ‘On the Hour’, he swiftly moved to TV with ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ and then ventured into Norwich’s regional radio waves via ‘I’m Alan Partridge’.

As Alan climbed, stumbled, and occasionally tumbled, his character has birthed an array of catchphrases, memes, stage shows, and a film. And who could forget the podcast, books, and all the rest? Three decades on, people humorously compare or accuse big names, like Brandon Flowers of The Killers, to the comic creation of Alan Partridge.

Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge is often compared to Richard Madeley

Steve, ever vocal at 57, mentioned in a chat with Metro that many TV personalities end up echoing a bit of Partridge, whether they mean to or not. Although he did once suggest that Alan was a blend of Richard Madeley and Piers Morgan, he’s clear on one thing: Alan isn’t based on the current ‘Good Morning Britain’ presenter. “Does Richard sometimes sound a tad Partridge? Absolutely. But, in truth, so do many others,” Coogan remarked.

Interestingly, Coogan suggests that Alan is much more an extension of himself than many might believe. “There’s an overlap between the Alan Partridge and Steve Coogan circles. I find myself doing Alan Partridge-like things often,” Steve admitted.

Far from tarnishing Steve’s illustrious career – which boasts nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars for ‘Philomena’ and roles in films like ’24 Hour Party People’ and ‘Tropic Thunder’ – the parallels with Alan have sometimes provided material. Coogan candidly shares that the character’s other writers, Rob and Neil Gibbons, have occasionally used his off-the-cuff remarks for Partridge scripts. But Steve’s not fazed. “I might’ve been peeved about it three decades ago, but now? I harness the quirky side of my personality. It helps pay the bills, and that’s no bad thing.”

And let’s face it, Alan has garnered quite a bit of clout over the years. Alan has made his mark with two Baftas and praise from Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell. Coogan describes Alan as a ‘Trojan horse’ of comedy. He’s a tool to safely and intelligently discuss topics from the modern culture wars to gender identity. Steve elaborated, “We ensure our humour punches up, not down. We’re not about mocking the vulnerable. We target the powerful, holding them to account.”

Steve Coogan discusses who Alan Partridge is based on
Steve Coogan gave insights into who Alan Partridge is based on

Among Alan’s favourite targets? British broadcasters, naturally. “We regularly rib Noel Edmonds. And Eamonn Holmes? No beef there, he’s just rather amusing. Oh, and Kirstie Allsopp… no idea why, really,” Steve laughingly shared.

Finally, addressing Holly Willoughby’s recent return to ‘This Morning’, Steve channelled a bit of Alan and graded her comeback speech an “eight and a half out of ten”. The content was spot on, but she could’ve done better with her wording, he reckoned.

Yet, despite all the jibes and jests, fans should know that Alan Partridge will stay. As Steve put it, “You’re stuck with Alan until either he or I kick the bucket.” Blimey!

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