Let’s face it; there’s no better way to kick off a blog about British film news for the Norwich Film Festival than with Alan Partridge. The cringe worthy Steve Coogan character is a vainglorious embodiment of the quirky nature of the city; loveable for reasons that lie just beyond definition. And soon he will be stepping up from his forages into local radio shows, television and even books to the world of film. It is not as if reports of an Alan Partridge film are particularly new; this is a film that’s production has been more on-again-off-again than the relationships of the cast of The Only Way is Essex, if the tabloids are to be believed. The rumours date back to at least 2004 and feature stars as diverse as Victoria Beckham and Bill Oddie and, while the imagination runs wild with the fun that could be had with that particular combination of celebrities, this time there seems to be news based in actual, solid facts. There is even a teaser trailer to back them up. What scant details that are out there indicate that the film, titled Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, will be based entirely in Norfolk, with filming taking place in Sheringham and Cromer earlier this year. The plot will revolve around a corporate take-over of local radio station North Norfolk Digital and the naturally ensuing violence and office siege. Little more has been revealed. The only photos that have surfaced from the shoot show Coogan behind a desk (complete with Alan Partridge calendar) with another featuring the actor holding a gun on Cromer pier. Although it seems unlikely that Posh Spice will be showing up at the NND studios any time soon, a number of regular cast members will be returning. Amongst others, Felicity Montagu will be reprising her role as Alan’s much put upon personal assistant Lynn and Phil Cornwell will be back as Alan’s rival, Radio Norwich DJ Dave Clifton. Also joining the cast are Colm Meany, Anna Maxwell Martin and Sean Pertwee in roles that are yet to be announced. The film is being helmed by Declan Lowney, best known for his work directing Father Ted and written by Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Peter Baynham, and Neil and Rob Gibbons. While the former three have all had a hand in creating and shaping the faux pas prone personality in the past, the latter pair was responsible for web series Mid-Morning Matters and Alan’s return to television screens after a decade long absence in two specials for Sky Atlantic last year. They were also chiefly responsible for recent “autobiography” I, Partridge; We Need to Talk about Alan. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa will be released in August this year.
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