Listening to some more classic British comedy and dissecting it for language. This time we’re listening to some more clips of Alan Partridge, a comedy character played by Steve Coogan. This is part 4 of a series I started in 2018.
Hello there, dear listener, and welcome back to this podcast for learners of English as a foreign or second language or third, or fourth. In these episodes I try to help you learn English while having a laugh at the same time. We cover a lot of British culture in these episodes including lots of stuff about comedy and there’s lots of English to be learned in the process.
Here’s another episode about Alan Partridge, a comedy character played by Steve Coogan. This is part 4 of a series I started in autumn 2018.
You should listen to parts 1-3 (episodes 548-550) before hearing this. Seriously, if you haven’t heard the other parts yet – stop right now and go back to hear them. This will not make much sense to you unless you’ve heard parts 1-3 so go back and listen to them instead, before you listen to this. Alright? OK, so only the people who have already heard parts 1-3 (episodes 548-550) are still with me now then… It should be just those who’ve… what about you there?… yes, you I don’t remember you listening to the other parts. Probably best to hear those first, like I said, so… probably stop and go back… in the archive. (episodes 548-550) Ok you’re still listening. No that’s fine, just ignore, yep, just ignore what I said, yeah, because this doesn’t apply to you does it… just carry on then… don’t blame me though if this doesn’t make sense… not my fault, I did say… just one thing though, when you don’t get it, don’t even think about saying “this is British humour”… no this is not “British humour” ok, “this is poor listening skills and bloody mindedness”. OK, fine. Unbelievable.
I’m just kidding, everyone’s welcome! Here is another episode about British comedy legend Alan Partridge and this is part 4.
When I did parts 1-3 in autumn 2018, I wasn’t sure what people would think, but overall the response was really positive, with lots of people saying they’d like to hear more.
Here’s a comment I just got from a LTL called Aritz, which sums it up quite well I think.
Hey Luke! I wanted to write to you about the Alan Partridge episodes. Thank you so much for taking your time to record them! Although I already knew Steve Coogan, you managed to make me understand the character (Alan) and the comedian in more depth. The episodes were educational, funny and somehow brought us a bit of British culture (something that as a London resident I always appreciate). Seriously good (great!!) stuff! Thanks again!
Well then, let’s enter the world of Alan again then.
What we’re going to do here is listen to some clips of Alan Partridge and break it all down for language learning.
Hmmm, which clips should I choose. There’s so much. We’re spoiled for choice.
I’ve decided to deal with clips from “I’m Alan Partridge” Series 1, episode 2 which follows on from the episode when he has that meeting with Tony Hayers and it goes all wrong and he squishes some cheese into his face.
I’ve chosen this episode because you already know the context of the story and it makes sense to carry on from where we were after hearing that scene. Also, this episode is just brilliant from start to finish (in my opinion of course, other opinions are available)
One thing I would like to say here is that I really want to recommend that you actually buy some Alan Partridge content. It’s really worth it. You should get a DVD or buy a series on iTunes or wherever you can.
I’d strongly recommend getting the DVDs for I’m Alan Partridge series 1 and 2. Also you could check out Mid Morning Matters series 1 and 2 if they’re available. If you’re in the UK you should find most of the AP content on the BBC iPlayer, including the recent series This Time with Alan Partridge (I recommend episode 4).
As well as those, you could get the Alan Partridge books. The first one is called “I, Partridge – We Need to Talk about Alan” and the second one is called “Nomad”. They are both absolutely brilliant and it’s not an exaggeration to say they are literally the best books I’ve ever read. Ok, that is an exaggeration, but it’s really not an exaggeration to say that the audiobook versions really are the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard.
The cool thing about the audiobooks is that they are read out by Alan himself (actually the actor Steve Coogan of course) and this is just amazing. You get hours of Alan reading you both his books and it’s absolutely top drawer comedy writing, and top-drawer voice acting too. Steve Coogan is a genius.
So, you could sign up with Audible and get the two Alan Partridge books.
And it just so happens that my Audible offer is still available!
You download the app on your phone, sign up with Audible and create an account to get the audiobooks, then download them onto your phone.
The offer is: One month of free Audible membership + any audiobook of your choice completely free.
If you like, you can cancel your membership before the end of the month and keep the free book.
So it’s essentially a free audiobook.
www.Audibletrial.com/teacherluke or click an audible logo on my website.
And also there’s the Alan Partridge film, called Alpha Papa, in which Alan gets involved in an armed hostage situation at a radio station and ends up being the hostage negotiator.
So – plenty of Alan content for you to purchase, some of it free.
OK, I just wanted to promote the various bits of Alan Partridge stuff that you can get before we begin.
Right then, so where were we last time?
Alan Partridge is this TV and radio presenter from Norwich in East Anglia in England who basically only cares about getting on television and enjoying the status of being a national broadcaster. He’s convinced he’s A-Grade talent, when in fact he’s at best a D-grade broadcaster or worse. He’s pretty much an awful person, although there are obviously worse people out there. Really, Alan is just lost, deluded, cowardly and deceitful rather than being out and out cruel or evil, although he treats his personal assistant Lynn pretty badly. But there’s something compelling about Alan, even though we certainly don’t want to be him, we might recognise ourselves in him. Is he uniquely British? In a way, yes. We tend to enjoy watching comedy characters who are quite awful, who think they’re better than they are, who are unaware of themselves.
We’re usually quite self-conscious people who try our best to avoid being like Alan, so maybe there’s something quite cathartic about watching someone who is so unaware of himself and so unafflicted by modesty and self-consciousness.
Anyway, I shouldn’t try to explain all of that. I did enough in parts 1-3.
Let’s just get down to business.
So, Alan is a parody (he’s not a real person of course, just a character – that should be clear) a parody of a certain type of TV presenter. He used to be a sports reporter, then he got his own chat show, but accidentally killed a man on live TV. Now he has been thrown out by his wife, their marriage has broken up, probably because of him. In fact it’s all covered in the I, Partridge audiobook. Alan is now living in a roadside motel, or “Travel Tavern”. Somehow he avoided criminal proceedings from what happened on his chat show. Then he failed to get a second series of his show and ended up having a meltdown and punching his boss in the face with a piece of cheese while shouting “Smell my cheese you mother!”
So basically, he doesn’t have a second series and his career is on the rocks.
He’s still presenting a radio show on BBC Radio Norwich, but he’s got the pre-breakfast slot, which is something like 4.30-6.30AM. It’s the graveyard shift, basically. He’s drifting into obscurity.
In this episode, Alan attempts to deal with the fact that he doesn’t have a second series. He’s got to face up to certain financial realities, meaning that he can’t move into his new 5 bedroom house, he has to get a much cheaper car and he’s going to have to lay off (or sack, or fire) almost everyone who he employs at his media production company. He employs about 5 people there, including a middle-aged woman called Jill who he fancies.
Mostly in the episode we follow Alan as he deals with these things, badly in most cases. So he has to sack his production staff, get a smaller car and try to maintain his dignity while living in a shitty travel tavern.
It’s valentine’s day in this episode, so there’s a kind of romantic theme – I say romantic, it’s not romantic at all really, but Alan ends up chatting up Jill from his production company and takes her out on a date. Lynn, his personal assistant seems a bit jealous. The whole thing goes wrong of course.
We’re going to do pretty much the whole episode here.
I’m Alan Partridge S1 E2
There is a laughter track on this, which is a pity, but honestly after a while you start to ignore it.
Alan’s radio show
Opening scenes on BBC Radio Norwich
What to watch out for:
- Alan’s dedication to his PA Lynn
- Why there’s no telephone Cluedo today
- What Alan says about the sound effect (the normal morning cockrel and then the sound of a kiss)
- How does Alan define Valentine’s Day?
- How Alan gets the tone of a light pre-breakfast radio show completely wrong by talking about syphilis
- How Alan ruins Dave Clifton’s joke about valentines cards “It’s valentines day! I came down this morning and I couldn’t open my door. I couldn’t open my door because I’d lost my key” ~terrible joke
- How Alan manages to plug chocolate oranges from Rawlinsons
That’s not the sound of someone kissing me, or kissing a cock… cockrel I mean. It’s simply a way of saying “it’s valentines day”, a day upon which mr Al Capone ruined a romantic night out for many diners by massacring them. Died of syphillis he did, so there is some justice.
Alan in the reception
- What’s the problem he has with Ben, who he says good morning to?
- How does he subtly insult Susan on reception?
- What’s the situation with Alan and the chocolate oranges?
- What’s Alan’s fat back?
- Can Sophie exchange her dark chocolate orange for a milk chocolate one?
- Someone says “Excuse me, are you Alan Partridge?” – why?
- What’s Alan’s complaint about the soap? (he acts out a washing routine in the shower)
- Who sent Sophie a Valentine’s card?
Alan and Lynn talk about finances
- What’s the good news?
- And the bad news?
- What about his Rover 800? Is he willing to drive a Mini Metro to save money?
- What does he have to do re: Pear Tree Productions?
- How does Lynn feel about Jill?
- What’s Alan’s scam at the breakfast buffet?