Anglian square, home to famous names such as QD, the 99p store, and Greggs. The square itself is contained by grey-building giants, an overpass of roads and a view over the city’s many sights. Overlooking all of this is The Hollywood Cinema, an almost ironically titled movie house. But yesterday, there was a different mood in the air, an escape from the hum-drum. Anyone not-in-the-know would have been questioning their sanity by midday; people dressed in shower curtains, walking around with giant plates, diamond printed v-necks, and the echo of voices shouting “DAN!”
The windows were cleaned, the streets were swept, and a red carpet stood out in the mostly grey decor of the place; it’s not everyday a world premiere reaches 100miles out of the capital.
Anglia Square not Leicester Square was the tag line, and there’s no film that would suit, or simply get away with such an idea other than the much anticipated Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, which was filmed around Norfolk earlier in the year. The buzz could be felt in all corners of county, with residents given sneak peaks into the story from their back doors.
With ‘the’ Partridge himself presenting the film, before jet setting out of Norwich to London by helicopter for the second premiere the same day, there was naturally a great turnout, with everyone nervously anticipating the days’s events. Music stages, barbecues and rickety tables offering raffle tickets were all in place for what many people were calling PARTRIDGE DAY.
A large mixture of diehard fans and locals waited amongst the sounds of Abba for the man to arrive. Any boredom was quickly dismissed by endless repetition of phrases from the character’s back-catalogue. There was a sense of wonder about what was happening; the cinema had dusted itself off, and people were in awe at the cameras snapping, this was Norwich’s turn to have their 15 minutes of fame on the national news.
Steve Coogan arrived in character as Alan, jumping out of his car in a very fitting baby blue suit (accompanied by a pristine pink tie) and rolled his radio jargon down a microphone which resonated one of the biggest “AHA’s!” Norwich has ever heard. Anyone layered around the cinema, viewing through windows, various levels of the carpark, and queuing for a coffee in Greggs below could no doubt feel the excitement. All stops had definitely been pulled.
Everyone knew this was a one of a kind event, and I can imagine the cinema’s manager is still laughing in a state of shock. The film is released on August 7th, and Partridge Mania shows no sign of stopping yet; with the newly painted Go Go Gorilla, and talk of Partridge Tours around the city the sound of “AHA!” will no doubt be heard throughout the summer.