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 '"... Monkey Tennis?"


1997-2002 Britcom starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge, a failed chat show host and candidate for the most Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist of all time. An utterly loathsome, pathologically narcissistic and self-absorbed failure of a human being with a permanent sneer, an entire wardrobe of Pringle jumpers and an unhealthy fascination with 'ladyboys', Partridge, after a failed chat show in which he failed to get an appearance from Roger Moore, shot a guest dead, and punched his BBC boss with a turkey (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge), is reduced to the graveyard shift on local radio and living in a motel after being kicked out by his wife. The series took a fly on the wall view on Partridge's life (such as it was) and his increasingly desperate attempts to get back on television. A second series was broadcast in 2002, which showed Partridge- following an off-screen nervous breakdown- as slightly more successful and a lot more smug. Other important characters include:

  • Lynn: Alan's mousy personal assistant-slash-doormat, who organises his life to such an extent that he can't survive without her, but whom he nevertheless treats with thoughtless contempt;
  • Michael: Alan's only friend - a emotionally tortured and desperate ex-soldier who is, possibly, even more of a loser than Alan is.
  • Sonja (season 2 only): Alan's Ukrainian girlfriend, who even he describes as "mildly cretinous". But she is 14 years younger than him — back of the net!

This is the role that Steve Coogan will forever be remembered as, and rightly so; one of the best British sitcoms ever made. Came forty-second in Britains Best Sitcom.

Tropes used in I'm Alan Partridge include:

  • Attractive Bent Gender: Potentially the Bangkok Chickboys.
  • Bigger Is Better: A significant part of why Alan won't drive a Mini Metro, even though Lynn points out it would make more sense for him to do so if he wants to keep his company Pear Tree Productions in business.
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: "SMELL MY CHEESE, YOU MUTHA!"
  • Break the Cutie: Sweet and smiling hotel receptionist Susan on the night before Alan checks out:


  • Brick Joke: In the first season, Alan speaks to his ex-wife's new boyfriend (a fitness instructor) about switching on the immersion heater to get a deep bath. In the second, one of Alan's radio segments is called Alan's Deep Bath.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Alan finds this trope pretty funny, Michael less so, and John the builder even less so.
  • British Brevity: Only 12 episodes were made.
  • Bully Hunter: In the last season of episode two, Lynn introduces Alan to her fiance, a retired policeman who attends her church, who reveals that he's heard all about Alan — and has managed to piece together exactly what sort of a man he is, informing him in no uncertain terms that if he doesn't stop bullying Lynne and treating her like a doormat he'll get what's coming to him. Alan is sufficiently intimidated to start by raising her salary.
  • Country Matters: A couple of examples from, fittingly enough, the angry farmers who take over Alan's phone-in.
  • Curse Cut Short: Several examples in the space of the farmers' phone-in: "You ignorant cu.."
  • Dumbass DJ: Dave Clifton, in a way which is nicely lampshaded by Alan:

 "It's difficult to understand you when you say 'splidding' as I know in real life you say splitting. It's interesting, the way you substitute a D for a T when you're broadcasting. If you ask me it's the behaviour of a dosser"

  • Erotic Dream - a recurring gag in the first series has Alan frequently segue into a kind of daydream in which he offers to do a lapdance for a variety of men whilst wearing a leather codpiece and one of his pringle jumpers with the nipples cut out, whenever he's whoring himself to get back on TV.
  • Erotic Eating: Jill and the chocolate mousse. Alan is a little squicked out.
    • Although it's important to note that the joke seems to be about how bizarre and neurotic Alan can be in his approach to women and sex.
  • Mr. Fanservice: John the sexy builder.
  • Faux Documentary - the program was filmed in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, albeit with a laughter track and several scenes a documentary would be unlikely to be given space to record.
    • It all gets a bit meta: on the in-universe commentary for series 1 Alan explains that IAP is actually a dramatisation of real events, and that aside from himself and Lynn everyone else was an actor. One has to wonder why he allowed such massively unflattering material to be made/aired, given his rank narcissism and very, very different take on the series' events as demonstrated in his in-universe autobiography I, Partridge: We Neeed to Talk About Alan.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: That big posh sod with plums in his mouth sounds and looks a lot like the news anchor Alan worked with back in The Day.
    • ...and surely Guy Secretan would never wear Lynx?
    • Isn't that Marsha working at Alan's company?
    • And who knew Caroline Price was once Alan's Ukrainian mail order bride?
  • Jaded Washout: Alan. The show is all about "The bitter life of a failed chat show host".
  • Last-Second Word Swap - Many of Alan or Michael's stories end with this trope. Prime example:

 Michael: " he flips him over, and he fu--

Lynn enters the room.

Michael:"--and fu-- and funnily enough it landed on all four wheels and they drove away."

Alan: "Strangest story I ever heard..."

  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Alan, as a generally terrible broadcaster, is fond of these, and usually in incredibly bad taste.

 Kate Fitzgerald, after describing her history with drugs: I notice you end almost every anecdote with the phrase "needless to say, I had the last laugh".

Alan: Yeah, well, you could end some of your chapters with "needles to say... I took drugs".

  • Mail Order Bride: Sonya, Alan's Ukranian girlfriend. Also Michael's Thai wife who "didn't fit in with the culture in Newcastle", and left him to move to Sunderland.
  • Moment Killer: Lynn decides that Alan's date with Jill is a good time to deliver his fungal foot powder.
  • Noodle Implements: Alan keeps one in his drawer.
    • According to Word of God (i.e. Coogan, on the commentary), it's exactly what you think it is. Yes, one of those.
  • Off the Wagon: Alan's Radio Norwich colleague, Dave Clifton: "'re back on the boddle!"
  • Precision F-Strike: Alan's awesome response when Dave Clifton attempts a series of traffic cone puns.
  • Running Gag: Frequent mentions of Bill Oddie.

 Sophie: Oh, there was a call for you. A Mr. Nesshead rang.

Alan: Right. Never heard of him. Did he leave a first name?

Sophie: No, it was just a Mr. P. Nesshead.

Alan: Sophie, that’s a crank call. That’s another crank call.

Sophie: [Smirking] Is it?

Alan: Read it back to yourself.

Sophie: Oh yeah, I can see what he’s done now. Shall I put it on the list with all the others?

Alan: If you would. Actually, can I have a look at that list? I want to get to the bottom of this. [Reading] "Mr. G. String... Mr. Nick Hers... Y. Front... Mr. T. Osser"? That doesn’t even work! "Mr. B. Ody"? This is Bill Oddie! It’s not a prank call. Why have you put it on there?

Susan: Well, we thought it looked like "body".

Alan: What’s rude about a body?

Sophie: Tits?

    • And Sue Cook: in reality inoffensive and mild-mannered, in the Alan universe she becomes a foul-mouthed, abusive heavy smoker. Cook sent a letter to Coogan after the show apologising for her behaviour.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Alan dimming the light at Jill's request. Thankfully he dims it all the way and saves us a bit of Fan Disservice.
  • Similar Squad: Alan's chance meeting with Dan. Dan. Dan. DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN...
  • Sound Effect Bleep: Alan finds a few suitable farm animal noises to use on the angry farmers.
    • And the hilariously distracting "background" music he uses for a traffic report in series 2, which has Alan delivering a screamed bleeped-out Cluster F-Bomb.

 BG: "[BEEP BEEP] Get out the way, you f---ing idiot! [HONK] You could get a bus through there, you f---ing c--t! [HONK] You stupid ----ing ----, LET ME THROUGH! [AIRHORN] GO!! THERE'S NOTHING THERE!! GO!!!!"

Alan: "We've got a report -"


Alan: [turns it off] "Gonna just get rid of that, it's annoying."